Social Enterprise Canada

December 15, 2015

Value of new Social Enterprise Institute heightens as field grows

When asked what’s unfolding in the social enterprise sector that gives her hope, Stephanie Pronk refers to the increasing number of people and organizations seeking to make social impact a core business offering.

“There are increasing numbers of young people and private entities making commitments to value social impact on par or above financial impact and there are more legal structures and private certifications for these groups to recognize these impacts,” says the consultant with Halifax-based Common Good Solutions.

As the field expands in this way, the value of a new Social Enterprise Institute just now in development heightens.

A screenshot of the Social Enterprise Institute webpage currently in development.

“We want to ensure that any organization or individual looking to create a social value-using enterprise gets professional, cost-effective support in a timely fashion,” says David Upton, also of Common Good Solutions and partner in the development of the institute, .

The first portion of the Social Enterprise Institute will be launching before the year’s end.
Completed videos and resources for the Explore section of the Social Enterprise Institute will be uploaded by Dec. 23.

“The Explore section covers everything needed to take a social entrepreneur or social enterprise to the full first launch of a product,” Stephanie says.

Content in this section will support choosing or assessing a high impact idea, building a minimum viable product, naming intended social impact and creating a business plan on one page using the social business model canvas.

The content will be offered in a variety of learning forms, from video to downloadable exercise files, extra resources, an FAQ, a forum, and a process to find and hire a qualified coach and get additional support from Enterprising Non-profits (ENP) affiliates.

Content in the Explore section, which was created collaboratively by all ENP affiliates, is offered for free.

“It is the introductory piece of the site, and will allow us to efficiently deliver resources to aspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, allowing them move at their own pace and pivot and change direction while they find which social enterprise is right for them,” Stephanie says.

“This will open up capacity for all of us to deliver higher-impact training, coaching and consulting to social entrepreneurs and enterprises that are further along the development spectrum and need more specific support,” she adds.

The second phase of the Social Enterprise Institute, titled Build, focuses on helping medium-sized organizations move past business challenges, or get unstuck, as well as expand.

The third phase, called Thrive, focuses on helping stable mid-size and large enterprises excel in areas such as impact measurement, marketing and sponsorship, efficiency and more. The Thrive section will also help organizations professionalize their staff.

The Build and Thrive sections will be available on the site for a fee. They will be developed over the winter and launched by early spring.

The institute is also intended to provide programming leading to certification for social enterprise coaches and consultants.

“I think there is a real need to certify social enterprise coaches and consultants,” Stephanie says. “Knowing about business doesn't guarantee that the advice given to a social enterprise will help meet their mission, and mission is why we all do it.”

“I am so excited about the possibilities for this project,” David says. “We see a powerful network of skilled, vetted professionals ready to support organizations with coaching and consulting services and we see a market for this far beyond Canada's borders.”

Related Story: New Social Enterprise Institute intended to level the playing field for aspiring social entrepreneurs and organizations

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