Harvard i-lab | Developing a Social Enterprise Business Plan with Allen Grossman | Summary and Q&A

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April 23, 2013
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Harvard Innovation Labs
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Harvard i-lab | Developing a Social Enterprise Business Plan with Allen Grossman

TL;DR

Learn about the essential components and considerations for crafting a successful business plan for social enterprises.

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Key Insights

  • ⌛ Social enterprises need to clearly define the problem they aim to solve and spend enough time understanding it before jumping into solutions.
  • 🎟️ The mission statement should be powerful, concise, and focused on creating social value as the primary reason for the enterprise's existence.
  • 👨‍🔬 Developing a theory of change based on research is essential to ensure the validity of the enterprise's approach and attract investment.
  • 👍 A solid business model, including a clear plan of activities, understanding of beneficiaries or customers, and evidence of expertise, is crucial for proving the ability to deliver on promises.
  • 🤔 Addressing risks and acknowledging the need for adaptation over time demonstrates transparency and strategic thinking.
  • ❓ Financial projections should be included, conveying sustainability and instilling investor confidence.
  • 📺 Social enterprises should convey their vision and the potential for creating significant change to attract investors.
  • 🌱 Scalability is important for making a lasting impact, and social enterprises should outline plans for growth and replication of their programs.

Transcript

take pleasure in it because I don't remember quite how many years ago but we've got a business plan context here for some time in about 12 years ago I guess it was we started a hopeful Enterprise track and you know over the years we've really been able to launch social enterprises that have made a huge difference in the world that include operating... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the key to a successful business plan for social enterprises?

The key lies in clearly understanding and articulating the problem you aim to solve, defining your mission, developing a strong theory of change, and demonstrating the ability to deliver on your promises. It is also important to address risks and scalability.

Q: How should social enterprises approach defining their mission?

A mission statement should be concise, memorable, measurable, and motivational. It should focus on creating social value as the core function of the enterprise, even if it aims to create economic value as well. It is also important to make the mission statement specific and impactful.

Q: How can social enterprises demonstrate their ability to deliver on promises?

By showcasing a solid business model, including a clear plan of activities, understanding and connecting with the target beneficiaries or customers, and displaying a track record or evidence of expertise in the field, social enterprises can instill confidence in potential investors.

Q: What is the importance of scalability in a business plan for social enterprises?

Scalability is crucial for making a measurable, long-lasting impact on social problems. Social enterprises should outline their plans for scaling, whether it is through partnerships, policy changes, or replication of their programs. It is also important to have a clear idea of what success and impact would look like at different stages of growth.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Social enterprises have the potential to make a significant impact on the world by pursuing opportunities regardless of the resources they currently control.

  • Key elements of a business plan for social enterprises include clearly defining the problem they aim to solve, articulating the mission and theory of change, developing a solid business model, demonstrating the ability to deliver on promises, and addressing risks and scalability.

  • An effective business plan should also include financial projections, show sustainability, and convey a compelling vision to attract investors.

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