November 2, 2009

Essential tools to start a social enterprise.

A compilation of the best resources to help you get your social enterprise planed, designed, launched and creating a sustainable impact.

Over the past few months a conversation has been evoling in the social entrepreneurship scene around the topic of super heros and how we can open up the social enterprise sector to the broader public, especially the inclusion of those at the bottom of the economic pyramid to become social entrepreneurs themselves.

This guide is meant to help the average joe, the rookie non-MBA social entrepreneur, The working poor, the high school student, the weekend entrepreneur… To put their ideas into action.

Tool kits and Guides.

Startup & Change the World: Guide for Young Social Entrepreneurs

Youth Social Enterprise Initiative (YSEI) has developed a guidebook dedicated to young innovators who are equipped with great ideas and are intent on unleashing them to change the world.

It’s full of information, tips and profiles to help you choose your path, develop a plan and create impact.

Human Centered Design Toolkit

For years, companies and other organizations have used Human-Centered Design to arrive at innovative business solutions. Working with the Gates Foundation and nonprofit groups IDE, IRCW, and Heifer International, IDEO relied on this approach to improve the lives of communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The resulting HCD Toolkit helps NGO staff and volunteers understand people’s needs in new ways, find innovative solutions to meet these needs, and deliver solutions with financial sustainability in mind. The free kit is divided into four sections that bolster listening skills, running workshops, and implementing ideas.

The HCD Toolkit contains the elements to Human-Centered Design, a process used for decades to create new solutions for multi-national corporations. This process has created ideas such as the HeartStart defibrillator, Cleanwell natural antibacterial products, and the Blood Donor System for the Red Cross—innovations that have enhanced the lives of millions of people.

UnLtd Built to Last Toolkit [Download PDF 2.48 MB]

This is a very useful guide to project planning and sustainability developed by UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs in the UK. There are some UK specific sections in the toolkit but the majority of the toolkit is relevant to any social entrepreneur, whether UK-based or not.

How to systematically build business models beyond profit

The presentation presents a clear framework of the nine building blocks for building a social enterprise:

1. Customer Segments

2. Value Proposition

3. Distribution Channels

4. Customer Relationships

5. Revenue Streams

6. Key Resources

7. Key Activities

8. Key Partners

9.  Cost Structure

also see by the same author:

The Constellation Model of Collaborative Social Change

"This is a very powerful, and proven model for creating very effective solutions to complex problems to large for a single organization to handle.

The constellation model is borne out of seven years of cross-organizational collaboration on children’s health issues in Canada. The network of related organizations overcame many hurdles and refined the model in a pracitical, working environment.

As the social innovation and social enterprise communities expand and address adjacent and overlapping goals, adoption of concepts like this one are going to be key to achieving more change faster.  We strongly recommend that anyone in the field review this paper not just once, but keep it handy for reference and guidance.”

Social enterprise structures guide launched

A range of areas of public services from primary healthcare to education, childcare, social care and offender management offer good opportunities for social entrepreneurs.

One of the most important early decisions for such businesses or sponsoring authorities must make is which legal structure to use for the business.

To help businesses through this minefield, specialist law firm, TPP Law, has now published the second edition of its Practical Guide to Structures for Social Enterprises.

Information to help you run your project, whatever stage it is at.

Here, you can download sample project plans, Tips and How to guides.(Scroll to the bottom to “General information”)

Growing list of terms used in the social business and enterprise sector.

Bootstrap University: Bootstrap BootCamp video series

A production of We teach the principles, stages and actions of bootstrap, the third way of entrepreneurship:


The Social Edge Resources Wiki can be used in two ways. Very much like a typical encyclopedia, you can simply search an entry, read it and learn about what is important in social entrepreneurship. But you may also edit the entry you have read, and even add a new one if you wish. This Resources Wiki is maintained by the Social Edge community -you. Please note that you need to be a Social Edge registered member to edit the Resources Wiki.

Root Cause’s How-to Guide, “Building a Performance Measurement System”

Performance measurement provides crucial information to help organizations dedicated to social impact assess their efficiency, sustainability, and progress toward achieving their missions. With such information in hand, organizations can make more strategic decisions and identify opportunities for improvement. By committing to continuous improvement and generating hard data, organizations can also attract new and returning social impact investors – from individual donors to foundations, government agencies, and corporation

Your Message in a Video [How to make a great marketing video when short on money and time]

Top Tips for Using Facebook for Business (Video)

5 ways your business can use Twitter lists

As a business on Twitter, you’re probably already using it to talk with customers, share deals and news, and stay up-to-date with your industry. The Twitter List is another feature that can be incredibly useful for you and your customers. You can use public lists to curate collections of helpful resources that both engage and support your customers. Here are five types of Twitter Lists a business should make.

How To: Be Active On Twitter Without Getting Burned Out!

10 Twitter Tools for Nonprofits, Social Entrepreneurs and Activists

10 of the Best Social Media Tools for Entrepreneurs
Whether your company is just starting out, just starting to turn a profit or already on the verge of an acquisition, as an entrepreneur you’ll be constantly evaluating the tools that will help get your business to the next stage.

Online Marketing Cheat Sheet for Social Entrepreneurs and Nonprofits.

Track what people are saying about your social enterprise in social media: How to Create Listening Dashboard

MicroMentor Resource Center

Cost effective evaluation tools

Sprout e-course

designed for aspiring social innovators and environmental entrepreneurs who want to grow their project ideas and learn to create lasting changes that take root in their communities. Learn more today:

Online Collaboration Resources for Social Entrepreneurs

101 Useful Resources for Online EntrepreneursEvery day more and more entrepreneurs are building successful businesses using the internet. There is an abundance of opportunity online and depending on the venture, there is often less cost and risk involved when compared with traditional businesses. There is also a wealth of resources available to help the online entrepreneur to run a business more effectively and more profitably, and we list many of those resources here. Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback and your recommendations of other resources.

Crowd Funding

A Guide to Crowdfunding Success


"The Art of the Start." Guy Kawasaki encourages entrepreneurs to make meaning, make mantra, and get going. According to Kawasaki, some examples of making ‘meaning’ are: make the world a better place, increase the quality of life, right a terrible wrong, and prevent the end of something good. Plus, his brilliant FAQ’s (frequently avoided questions) will answer almost all your fears about starting a new business.

The Bootstrapper’s Bible: How to Start and Build a Business with a Great Idea and (Almost) No Money, Godin shows precisely how his own venture, and a slew of others like Dell Computer, Burton Snowboards, Bose Corporation, Starbucks, and many lesser-known companies, ultimately managed to turn that nothing into something quite substantial. This is a must-read for any entrepreneur.

Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

Losing My Virginity is the unusual, frequently outrageous autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time. When Richard Branson started his first business, he and his friends decided that “since we’re complete virgins at business, let’s call it just that: Virgin.” Since then, Branson has written his own “rules” for success, creating a group of companies with a global presence, but no central headquarters, no management hierarchy, and minimal bureaucracy.

Social Edge’s Top Book Picks for Social Entrepreneurs
We have been asked at Social Edge for recommended reading for the aspiring and practicing social entrepreneurs.  So besides our extremely useful blogs on Social Edge, Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg’s article on Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition, and Bill Drayton’s Everyone a Changemaker article, here, in no particular order, are our top 10 books on social entrepreneurship followed by our top 10 related books that can help social entrepreneurs succeed.


Starting up as a social entrepreneur (at Skoll Emerge) from The School for Social Entrepreneurs

The Bootstrappers Guide to Launching New Projects by Inc Magazine

No money? Use social capital to get things done.

Ramen Profitable

Conversation Agent’s: More Thoughts on Your New Media Equity

Ten Common Entrepreneurship Myths
If you’re thinking of starting your own business, you’ve probably heard a lot of stories - some good, some bad. But how much stock can you put into these tales? We’ll take a look at some of the myths associated with becoming an entrepreneur.

What Startups Are Really Like

Startups in 13 Sentences

Most Common Early Start-up Mistakes

The 18 Mistakes that Kill Startups

Learning How To Fail

The Best Entrepreneurs Know How To Fail Fast

Fail Fast, Fail Cheap
Get your idea into the marketplace, and learn from customers

The Importance of Failure: Seeing failure as success

The Awesomeness Manifesto

Ethical production, Insanely great stuff, Love, Thick value.

  1. cseikingston reblogged this from montero
  2. nettra reblogged this from montero and added:
    Extremely comprehensive list. What are they missing?
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