• Start with the problem you want to solve in the world

    Once you know what your challenge is you need to develop some key skills to the solve the problem!

    This is Scott Sherman on the key skills of successful Social Entrepreneurs

    For the past six years, the Transformative Action Institute (TAI) has been promoting a curriculum that teaches these skills. From in-depth studies of social innovators, we have identified seven important competencies that are essential for success:

    1. Leadership. These people take initiative and action to solve problems (rather than complaining about what’s wrong).
    2. Optimism. These people are confident that they can achieve a bold vision, even when many other people doubt them. They have a strong sense of self-efficacy and a belief that they have control to change their circumstances.
    3. Grit. This is a combination of perseverance, passion, and hard work—the relentless drive to achieve goals, complete commitment to achieving their task.
    4. Resilience in the face of adversities, obstacles, challenges, and failures. When things fall apart, these people rise to the occasion. They thrive in the most ferocious storms. They see failures as valuable feedback.
    5. Creativity and innovation. These people see new possibilities and think in unconventional ways. They see connections and patterns where few other people would imagine.
    6. Empathy. These people are able to put themselves in the shoes of others, and imagine perspectives other than their own; this is one of the most valuable qualities for understanding the needs of others whom they serve.
    7. Emotional and social intelligence. These people are excellent at connecting with others and building strong relationships.’

    Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation – ‘Skills for social enterprise’ course

    This is technically trying to sell courses on social entrepreneurship and related items to you, however the parts about how you need to ‘understand financial statements’ and how you need to be a good project manager, are all interesting and relevant.

    ‘ESSENTIAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SKILLS: For running a business and improving your impact

    The day-to-day running of an enterprise requires a range of practical skills and knowledge of key approaches in order for your business to be sustainable or to grow, and to have the vital social impact that is central to your goals. To make sure your budgets and finances are in order and that you can resource your work and plan for the future we offer Understanding Financial Statementsand Introduction to Budgeting – both are development programmes designed to give you the key skills to take away and put into practice. As a legally registered business, Data Protection compliance is essential.

    In order to plan and deliver your organisation’s core activities effectively, Project Management skills will be an essential part of your team’s day-to-day work, helping you reduce spend, beat deadlines and take a pro-active approach to problem solving. A more in-depth look at the Monitoring and Evaluation involved in delivering and developing high quality projects will help you to assess and improve your work, evidence your impact and make decisions for planning and development. Our Strategic Planning and Practice course is designed to help you remain true to your organisation’s purpose and ambitions in the face of constant challenge and change from the outside world and take your organisation in the direction you want it to go.’

    5 Skills Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Master – Jason Demers

    This isn’t strictly about social entrepreneurs, however is focused on commercial entrepreneurs. I do, however, feel that this is still relevant and these skills are completely necessary for a successful social entrepreneurship.

    1. Communication. When you’re a solopreneur, you may think communication is less of an issue, since you don’t have staff to interact with. But you’ve still got to maintain clear lines of communication with your customers via email and phone, as well as ensure that the message you send through your website and social-media profiles is the one you want.

    1. Branding (personal and business). Whether you’re striving to brand your business or looking to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, knowing how to do so online is essential to your success.
    1. Sales. You may not identify with salespeople, but the fact is, if you run a business, you’re involved in sales. You might have a sales team that handles all of your company’s sales, but every time you deliver your elevator pitch about your business, negotiate with a vendor, or even just persuade anyone to do anything, you’re tapping into sales skills.
    1. Strategy. It’s easy to think about the “right-now” aspect of your business, because the results are easy to see. But what about the bigger picture, long-term challenges and goals? How often are you thinking about those?
    1. Finance. While you don’t need to be a CPA to run a successful business, you should still have a decent understanding of your finances, profit margins, cash flow and funding. The more comfortable you are with all of these numbers, the more confident you’ll be, and the better decisions you’ll make.’

    Schwab Foundation for social entrepreneurship – what is a social entrepreneur?

    ‘Social entrepreneurs share some come common traits including:

    • An unwavering belief in the innate capacity of all people to contribute meaningfully to economic and social development
    • A driving passion to make that happen.
    • A practical but innovative stance to a social problem, often using market principles and forces, coupled with dogged determination, that allows them to break away from constraints imposed by ideology or field of discipline, and pushes them to take risks that others wouldn’t dare.
    • A zeal to measure and monitor their impact. Entrepreneurs have high standards, particularly in relation to their own organization’s efforts and in response to the communities with which they engage. Data, both quantitative and qualitative, are their key tools, guiding continuous feedback and improvement.
    • A healthy impatience. Social Entrepreneurs cannot sit back and wait for change to happen – they are the change drivers.’

    FabJob Guide to become a social entrepreneur


    Here is a useful info graphic!

  • Who do you need to start a Social Enterprise?

    People are the key part of any social enterprise. Let’s look at how we might make them partners

    The six vital ingredients of a good partnership.

    1  Clear and unambiguous benefits for all members of the partnership.

    2  Efficient decision-making methods and processes.

    3  Clearly agreed roles and deliverables – agreed upfront and written down – for each partner.

    4  A fair spread of both benefit and risk between every member of the partnership.

    5  A sensible and manageable amount of administration, meetings and paperwork for all involved.

    6  There must be trust and mutual respect. In an ideal world the partners should have shared values.

    Here is a useful guide from SE UK!


    Check this long article in INC magazine

    How to Become a Social Entrepreneur: Hire Employees Smarter Than You

    A problem that isn’t unique to nonprofits, any well-run organization needs to employ this simple hiring tactic. For social entrepreneurs, it’s often just as difficult to hire other employees who may have skills or experience beyond yours, but that’s no different than a for-profit entrepreneur building a team. Once you get over that original fear, you will be able find and keep talented employees who recognize that your ego doesn’t get in the way of success.

    “Today more than ever before, human capital is what counts, not financial capital,” Scofield says. “In the nonprofit sector, you probably don’t have the ability to offer either the short-term big bucks or the whispered promise of future riches that equity provides. Some managers are afraid to hire people smarter and more ambitious than they are, thinking these new hires will knife them in their back and steal their job. You just can’t do that and succeed.”

    Harrison adds that the sales pitch to potential employees, while often more difficult in terms of finances, is all about finding the right people.

    “I’ve got to really inspire people to give their lives to something greater that are interested in legacy and making history as one of the greatest world problems is solved,” says Harrison. “We’re always looking for talent and that’s often my ask—not for money but for talented people to join what we’re doing.


    A community in need and also behind your idea

    ‘A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.’


    Kickstarter/Crowdfunding/Just giving campaigns and crowdfunders are a sure fire way to guarantee a willing and open community. Obviously if people are willing to contribute financially to the opening of a space, then they are more likely to need and want to use it.


  • Top Tip

    Organise your ideas and thinking!

    Use the 6 thinking hats – creative thinking and problem solving tool! Here is a book on issuu to help you develop this skill.

    Find your tribe – find local SE’s and not for profits etc..

    Linking with others – learn how to collaborate with this Prezi; 

    Join existing networks
    Speak to those who need your SE your users? What do they need??

  • Develop Your Skills!

    Online Courses in Social enterprise

    Iversity – Social Innovation MOOC

    Cost: Free

    Tutors:  Nicholas Wenzel, Christine Rimke, Dr. Susan Müller


    Social innovations, i.e. new social practices, are everywhere and largely influence our lives: they change the rules of the game in business, civil society and politics. With social innovations, we can design social practices that are more beneficial, sustainable or just.

    But what are social innovations? And what effects can they have? This course is an introduction to the topic. You will gain an overview of what social innovations are, how they function and how they can be developed.

    You will learn what social innovations are and understand how they can help solve societal problems. You will get an overview of important literature and debates on social innovation.

    You will get to know and apply methods to develop, implement, and scale social innovations. Exercises will allow you to apply the methods, develop own ideas and gather first-hand experiences.

    Springboard – Social Entrepreneurship

    Cost: Free


    The learning path is designed such that it puts you on a course to developing your own social venture. You will start as a beginner, getting introduced to basic concepts of social entrepreneurship. However, once you complete the learning path, you will come out with an intricate understanding of the key elements of starting a social venture and the core foundations of social entrepreneurship. Here are the main topics covered:

    • An introduction to social entrepreneurship
    • Understanding a social problem and designing a solution
    • Developing a social enterprise business plan
    • Financing social ventures
    • Failing fast and learning quick

    Social Entrepreneurship 101 – Discovering your passion and path to change the world
    Cost: Free

    By the end of this course, you will be able to:

    • Understand the concept of social entrepreneurship and be inspired to find new ways to tackle the world’s greatest challenges
    • Appreciate that social entrepreneurship is a mindset to tackle problems across different sectors (public, private, non-profit)
    • Discover a pathway for how you can make change whether this is founding an enterprise, serving on a board, or supporting social entrepreneurs in other creative ways


    Life After Lean


    In May 2013, Sabrina Natasha Premji & Afzal Habib participated in +Acumen’s inaugural Lean for Social Change course based on Lean Start-Up principles. Enrolment for the next session of the Lean for Social Change course is open now. If you are working on a social issue in your community, are interested in pursuing your own social venture, or are just interested in creating an impact in this world…Register today! Sabrina & Afzal joined the course with a simple idea and the passion to transform the childcare crisis in East Africa’s informal settlements. Seven weeks later, they had developed a customer-tested business model ready to pilot in Kenya’s densest slums. Read their story below.

    In 2012, while working in Kenya, we learned about a new form of childcare in East Africa’s urban slums and decided to check it out. We were welcomed into a local woman’s home, the air pungent with the smell of urine and feces. As we inched our way into the mud-walled home, desperately trying to navigate through the darkness surrounding us, Sabrina tripped over a baby lying on the ground.  Frozen, our eyes scanned the room quickly, and more shapes emerged from the unlit space.  In front of us, we saw two dozen or more infants in the congested home, all awake, but lying perfectly still. In that moment, we asked ourselves: Is there a way to offer high quality, affordable early childhood care to young children in Kenya’s informal settlements trapped in the intergenerational cycle of poverty? In the months that followed, we visited more slums to understand the extent of the problem, conversed with development practitioners and researched global best practices in early childhood care and education. Although we were committed to the idea, our thinking was often unfocused and fell second to our full-time jobs.
    Enter +Acumen and the announcement that they were launching  a new course for budding social entrepreneurs.  We drafted an application including our first ever ‘business model canvas’ and a week later, we joined the 7-week course where we learned new topics via online modules, engage in weekly discussions with mentors and ‘got out of the building’ to develop, test and iterate our business model.

    For us, the four most valuable components of the program were:

    • Created Accountability: Prior to Lean, we only spent a few hours a week on Kidogo, doing broad brainstorming exercises and desk research. Having specific deliverables and weekly check-in meetings during the Lean course forced us to focus our limited time on our most important priorities, and ensured that every hour was spent on something that would move us forward.
    • Provided access to Mentorship & New Networks: When we began the course, we were paired with 2 mentors – Brad Rosenberg & John McKinley – with different backgrounds and experience. These mentors challenged our thinking and provided guidance throughout the course to point us in the right direction. Their advice, and often differing perspectives, were invaluable and they continue to remain actively engaged with Kidogo today as members of our Board of Advisors. In addition, we were introduced to a handful of other participants – passionate social entrepreneurs across the globe who were solving social challenges in their own communities – many of whom we are still in touch with today.
    • Moved us from Idea to Impact: Over the weeks leading up to the course, we had created many PowerPoint “decks” with ideas, models based on our assumptions & financial ratios to inform stakeholders about what were we PLANNING to do.  With a push from Bob Dorf & our mentors, we were encouraged to get out of the building, talk to customers & partners and conduct experiments to test our assumptions – effectively moving the conversation from what we were PLANNING to what we were DOING.
    • Challenged our thinking: As a result, the course challenged us to refine our business model, adapt our focus, and develop a Minimum Viable Product – a way to test our model in a low-risk and inexpensive way and gain currency with our customers. This “MVP” has grown into a full-size pilot project which will be our first early childhood development center which is slated to open its doors in August 2014.

    Overall, we left the Lean for Social Change course with a refined business model and confirmation that we were really onto a viable social business.  So much so, that we decided to leave our jobs and work on Kidogo full-time, with the goal of unlocking the potential and changing the trajectories of young children living in urban slums. In short, the experience was a game-changer for us.

    University of Oxford -Social Entrepreneurship (Online)

              Cost: £255+

              Tutor:Mr Santhosh Ramdoss

    Course Aims:

    This social entrepreneurship course is designed to introduce the concept as well as engage students and the tutor in a joint learning experience of this emerging field. Through the course, students will:

    • Be exposed to the concept of social entrepreneurship and social enterprises and how social entrepreneurs are transforming society to deliver social impact in their home communities and abroad.
    • Understand the role of measuring impact and how to quantify the social impact for investors, donors, and beneficiaries to help ensure that scarce resources are utilized appropriately.
    • Be aware of how they might apply social entrepreneurship skills in their future pursuits to address social problems.
  • Index

    Hyper Island toolbox is full of great ways of working together!

    Essential reading

    Here are some great books that inspires us!

    37 signals – re work

    Seth godin – tribes

    The lean start up – Eric Ries

    6 Thinking Hats – Edward de Bono

    Whats stopping you? – Robert Kelsey

    A good resource about skills and people is the Capture project Go Create! This is how we set up a micro social enterprise in a nursery with a group of parents (skills)