The Resource Challenge for Social Enterprise

Last month, I read a piece on funding social enterprise. It was an article from The Wall Street Journal entitled, “Social Enterprises Have a Hard Time Landing Capital.” As a social entrepreneur myself, I am always looking to learn more about how to grow my business successfully. The piece spoke to the challenges of raising capital by social enterprises.

In reading that article, my own experience and doing some research, I realized that social entrepreneurs do have challenges not just for investment capital, but more broadly for other resources, such as leadership development or sales and marketing expertise. In my opinion, no matter how you are operating your own business or relying on investments from others, it is critical to have a well thought out business plan that addresses the road map for the company, marketing, competition, management and financials of the organization.

Among many things, I am always reviewing my company’s financials and resources on a daily basis through dashboard reporting. I am continually looking at our operations and financial projections and I am always seeking information to make the best decisions at any given point in time.

Taking from the aforementioned article and other resources, I want to provide some good resources, not just financial, for entrepreneurs to find investment capital, support and development, because if we are looking to earn a profit and make a difference in society, then I believe it is important for as many excellent social enterprises as possible to survive, grow and expand.

* Ashoka Innovators for the Public – Is the largest network of entrepreneurs in the world with approximately 3,000 fellows representing 70 countries. Ashoka provides start-up financing, professional support and networking opportunities.

* Community Wealth Partners – Partners with organizations through planning processes and coaching, for example, to empower social entrepreneurs to obtain the expertise and resources they need to be successful.

* Funder’s Club – Allows accredited investors to become equity holders in FundersClub – managed venture funds, which are pre-screened, private companies.

* Skoll Foundation – Provides large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems.

* GlobalGiving – Is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities.

* Echoing Green – Has supported social entrepreneurs with over $33 million in over 40 countries and provides start-up funding, customized support services, and access to our global network of champions.

* Investors’ Circle – Is the oldest early-stage impact-investing network. In association with hundreds of angel investors, venture capitalists, foundations and family offices, they have provided hundreds of millions in support to social enterprises.

Despite the fact that resources may be hard to come by for social entrepreneurs because the media, for example, focuses on investments to green projects or medicine, social enterprise continues to grow. Leading business schools have implemented graduate programs for aspiring social entrepreneurs who are looking to not only be successful in business, but make a change in the world.

I am proud to be a social entrepreneur. It is not easy and the work means long hours and a lot of dedication, but there are many organizations out there and individuals who are prepared to provide support, resources and expertise to people who are looking to innovate change.

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