Ask any entrepreneur, and they will tell you that finding success is difficult. For social entrepreneurs, though, success may be even more difficult to find. In addition to all the normal struggles that entrepreneurs face, social entrepreneurs also attempt to make a positive impact with their work—no easy task. If you want to be a social entrepreneur, the below tips will help you develop your business and find success.
B Lab – Impact Assessment Tool
B Lab is a non-profit organization founded in 2009. The company’s goal is to help social entrepreneurs and issue B Corporation certification to companies who score well on B Lab’s social impact assessment. While there is an annual fee associated with maintaining B Corporation certification, B Lab’s Impact Assessment Tool is free for any company to use. The B Lab site has many examples of B-Reports which can be used as references for creating a business that has a social impact.
Ashoka has been supporting social entrepreneurs for 35 years through fellowships. The fellows are able to use the grant money to support themselves while they work full time on their business. At the moment “more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows [are] implementing system-changing solutions to human and environmental problems in 89 countries” (About Ashoka). Becoming an Ashoka Fellow is not an easy task. There are at least five phases to the selection process, and the business idea has to be truly innovative. However, the site also features inspiring stories and insightful articles that every social entrepreneur will find helpful.
NYU Speaker Series
Social entrepreneurship is the focus of the Catherine B. Reynolds Speaker Series. Entrepreneurs located in the NYC area should make a point of going to one of the discussions—they’re free and anyone can attend. The events can also be downloaded for free via iTunes. In the past, John Mackey (Whole Foods Market), Elie Wiesel (Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity), and Seth Goldman (Honest Tea) have participated in the series. Many other universities around the country have similar events, so if you don’t live in the NYC, you might still be able to attend an event in person.
The Unreasonable Institute “provide[s] entrepreneurs what they need to create scalable solutions to the world’s greatest problems” (We Believe). Entrepreneurs can apply for the chance to attend an “accelerator” program. Some of the programs are short (5 days) while other programs last for weeks. Entrepreneurs who participate in a program get the chance to speak with mentors and learn about numerous topics like raising capital and strategic planning.