Blog & News.
Blog & News.
Following the previous publications on our blog in the BASET project’s site let us remind you that our definition of an educator in the context of social entrepreneurship was the following: he / she is a person who acts professionally as a trainer, teacher, mentor, coach, adviser, consultant, facilitator or some other kind of a professional, who works with social entrepreneurs in order to facilitate and support a start-up and the development of a social business (venture).
So, what questions such a person (educator) will ask at his/her first meeting with social entrepreneurs, who would like to be supported (trained, mentored, etc.) in doing business with a social mission. The ten group of questions below are included in our Social Entrepreneurship Development Model (SEDM) (read the draft version) as one of the main outputs of the Project BASET. All these questions are taken from good practices of consultants, trainers and advisers on social entrepreneurship. Therefore, the educator should get an initial impression of the entrepreneur's personality about his / her: Motivation, Inherited Mentality, Competencies, Skills, Experience, Empathy, Leadership, Integrity, Social Intelligence, Social Business Model.
10 Groups of Questions
The proposed ten groups of preliminary questions neither exhaust all possibilities nor claim universality. Any trainer and consultant (educator) could ask more or less of these questions, which are listed below depending on his/her experience. We believe that it is quite important for any educator, however, at the beginning of his/her work with the entrepreneurs to sketch a general picture of the social business idea or case and the profile of its owner.
First group of questions concerns the motivation of the persons who are interviewed. The educator has to understand what is the motivation of these persons and why they would like to start their own business in the areas of tackling social challenges and problems. The entrepreneurs have to be asked if they know what impact they would like to achieve and whether they rely on sustainable decisions. What is their vision and mission? What leads them to the realization of their idea?
Secondly, it is commonly accepted that the inherited mentality of people is an important factor of their decisions to become entrepreneurs and to help other people. The educator would ask them to share with him/her whether they have in their family entrepreneurs or people who have led other people and/or managed projects, and if they have received tips and good examples from them? Or maybe they have been instructed or influenced by other leaders or concrete examples in a national or a global context?
Next, the third group of questions concerns important competences. Do they know the social issues they will have to deal with as entrepreneurs and can they share what knowledge and competences they still lack about this area as well as for the economy and management of a company or organization? Do they know well what difficulties and challenges await them in the course of their journey?
The questions for competences are followed by questions on skills, so the forth group of questions are related to important skills. For example, the educators could ask them on what skills they would be able to rely so the creation and/or development of their social venture / project / enterprise is successful? Whether they know what skills they lack for being successful social entrepreneurs?
The fifth group of questions are about the social entrepreneurs' experience. The educator will ask those interviewed whether they have personal experience of working with social projects and / or doing classic business? He/she may ask whether they already have work experience in a social enterprise or they have been in a network supporting social causes? Any question that can give more information about the experience of the potential social entrepreneurs can be very supportive for the educator?
The sixth group of questions is about empathy. If the interviewed claim that they are involved in solving social challenges and problems the educator has to ask them what is the reason for this. Whether this is a philanthropy, social responsibility, the belief that everything is in their hands, or it is their philosophy of life, the understanding that every business is social when it is innovative, the understanding that the social business model is more efficient in comparison with the classic one, or this is a good approach of searching for justice, or they would like to support solving global problems, or all these things or/and something more? Are they ready to achieve their goal despite the anticipated difficulties and losses, or do they believe that they can and do they intend to work towards reducing the risks of failure to a minimum? And /or maybe both?
The seventh group of questions concerns leadership and is one of the most important. Do they think that they have the qualities of a leader that can also engage other people in solving the tasks and achieving social impact? Would these qualities be useful so they become business leader as well? Do they know the difference between the two types of leadership?
Next, the eighth group consists of questions that concern the integrity of social entrepreneurs. Do they know the moral and ethical norms of doing business with regard to users, investors, customers, beneficiaries, competitors, suppliers, consultants, etc.? Are they ready to give up of their ideas and goals for achieving financial and social impact, if this overrides these norms?
The ninth group of questions is about the social intelligence of the entrepreneurs. Do they have stakeholders, supporters, partners and / or a network of contacts that support their mission and intend to achieve specific social effect? How do they plan to include them in their initiative / project / enterprise to increase their chances of success?
And finally, the tenth and may be the most important group of the preliminary questions concerns the business model. Do the entrepreneurs have an initial idea of how they will create and sell something useful to the users, and how they and their target group will benefit? The educators would like to expect that the entrepreneurs could simply answer the questions: who, why, what, how, to whom, and where? Can they develop a more detailed operational business plan and do they know where they would seek some help?
The newspaper Le Monde has recently (22/10/2018) reported the trend of business students who are more and more seduced by social entrepreneurship. Indeed, some students no longer hesitate to enter a large business school to develop a project with high social content. Here is a sentence from one of these students who seems to sum up this new state of mind: "When you have the chance to study, you have the responsibility to do something that you like and that animates you. " Kevin Berkane, a 28-year-old HEC graduate.
Thus, many are interested in associative engagement, specialization in social entrepreneurship or the creation of positive impact structures, and therefore correspond less and less to the cliché that we can make of these schools. But what happens after school? Indeed, for many of these students it can be difficult to make a career choice oriented towards social entrepreneurship, as this student explains: "It can be complicated to have invested in a school, for a certain standard of living, and finally to give it up. Personally, I tell myself that I prefer to take more time to repay my studies than to deny myself. But it's not an obvious choice either". For these young people, seeking to be accompanied is quite difficult as they emerge from 5 years of study: difficult to imagine redoing specific trainings in social entrepreneurship. Therefore, it is tempting for some of them to embark directly on the adventure when they have made their choice.
However, more and more European business schools are investing in the Hult Prize contest. Each year, the Hult Prize designates and accompanies a student start-up. In association with the United Nations, the Bill Clinton Foundation and the support of Education First, the winning team is awarded $ 1 million for its innovative and social project. This is enough to have the tools to get started, both in funding and support.
But what about others? Unfortunately, there are still no clear statistics on these students who have become social entrepreneurs. In Belgium, for the past decade, there have been platforms such as Coopcity, which offers tailor-made support programmes: discovering social and cooperative entrepreneurship, knowing the ecosystem, using specific tools to get started, finding financing adapted to the activity, choosing the appropriate governance, communicating on a project, etc. These kinds of platforms are especially useful for their willingness to create important networks, which is one of the biggest challenges for the social entrepreneur. These platforms create a link for actors who wish to engage in social entrepreneurship: project leaders, citizens, local authorities. They develop a rich community.
From the point of view of the Belgian public sector, social entrepreneurship is now completely ingrained in people's minds. Indeed, whether at the local level or at the regional level, the local authorities integrate into their policies and administrations the notion of social entrepreneurship.
Just look at the amount of calls for projects and grants issued by the state. But what about today's positioning of the social entrepreneur in the business world? The multiplication of links between start-ups and large groups shows a clear message: it is a source of innovation, on which the survival of companies depends today. For start-ups, it's about accelerating their growth by building on the strengths of their elders. In exchange for a source of youth and inspiration for groups that need to inject agility and flexibility into their model, to stay at the forefront of innovation. A win-win situation, called "open innovation", in which everyone finds his account.
According to an article by La Libre (03/07/2017), a forgotten element in this collaboration between start-ups and large groups is the social entrepreneur. Yet, present in the programmes of the largest business schools, social entrepreneurship is still struggling to make its way to the directions of innovation and strategy of large companies. Not enough "business", not enough strategic, not-for-profit and therefore no interest for a company?
A symbolic barrier and some prejudices seem to persist between the start-ups of the social and solidarity economy and their digital cousins, who at first glance appeal to them. However, the success stories of the social and solidarity economy exist and continue to demonstrate the strategic potential of collaborations between social entrepreneurs and large groups. Businesses have a lot to learn from the social entrepreneur's "toolbox". Social entrepreneurs design bottom-up strategies, know how to analyze concrete needs, on which they build agile strategies, and react to rapid changes in social contexts. A fluidity guided by a meaningful mission, which also attracts and retains the young talents of Generation Y, in search of fulfilling professional experiences. Finally, the social entrepreneur is by nature hybrid: he responds to the general interest, while ensuring the economic sustainability of his model. This ambivalence results in an ability to invent economic and financial models that shape the contours of the economy of tomorrow.
It is time to consider social entrepreneurs as levers of innovation for large companies, like classic startups. So far we have seen the positioning of social entrepreneurship in business schools, public sector, support platforms, and the business and industry sectors, but what about the public opinion? In the face of societal challenges, more and more citizens see values as a priority and question the meaning, ethics and responsibility of their actions. Although there is general awareness, the messages criticizing the current economic system are perceived as too negative. It is now time to move towards positive communication, more inspiring and mobilizing. It is important to give more visibility to concrete initiatives that already respond to various societal problems and that show that even small-scale change is possible.
By responding in an innovative way to societal challenges, social enterprises can re-link economic activities and society and provide a vehicle for transition. In conclusion, there is still some way to go about social enterprise, its image and its positioning. It should be noted that during a recent visit to Portugal, the King of Belgium argued that "Social entrepreneurship is now fully integrated into our Belgian economy". So be it!
On 26 October 2018 all partners in the BASET project gathered for the 3rd project meeting in Brussels, Belgium after the organised 5-days' Training & Review on the Social Entrepreneurship Model + Train the Trainers Toolkit. The project coordinator Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (KISMC) and the project partners CEED Bulgaria, IDEC, Caban Capital and Creative District gathered to discuss the current status and results from the intellectual outputs so far as well as next steps for implementing the project BASET: Boost Aid for Social Entrepreneurship through Training.
The timing of the project meeting was very good, i.e. after the 1st project training, since all the feedback collected could be discussed and reviewed for taking on board the updating of the drafts of the 2 intellectual outputs:
The training orgnised prior the project meeting contributed also to the discussions for the future development cycle of the project as well as post the project duration. During the project KISMC provided a progress update on the SEDM, taking on board the additional comments and feedback from the previously held training with the educators from Bulgaria, Greece, Belgium and the UK. All partners suggested additional aspects that could slightly be improved and updated. Moreover, IDEC and CEED Bulgaria provided insights from the training's comments and feedback on the TTT and led the discussion on the structure and the development on the online platform. On the ground of all discussions, Caban Capital and Creative District took on board a collective overview of the best development of the intellectual output 3 - Train the Investors Handbook.
Furthermore, all project partners covered topics such as quality assurance and evaluation, dissemination of the project as well as project management and next steps. The project meeting helped the entire project team sync their efforts in a direction that would be beneficial to all stakeholders in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem. The meeting was also focused on discussions about the project activities, financial and administration details.
Training & Review on the Social Entrepreneurship Development Model + Train the Trainers Toolkit in Brussels [BASET]
On the 22-26 October 2018 all BASET partners - KISMC, CEED Bulgaria, IDEC, Caban Capital and Creative District, together with educators from Bulgaria, Greece, Belgium and the UK, took part in a 5-days training in Brussels under the project BASET: Boost Aid for Social Entrepreneurship through Training, co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
The training, which was organised and hosted by the BASET project partner - Creative District, aimed at delivering a brief overview of the project, its target groups, main objectives and results so far, and more specifically the two already produced draft intellectual outputs:
All participants had the opportunity to support the project by testing the teaching methodology and the certification procedure implied by the project. There were discussions on how the Social Entrepreneurship Development Model provides the invited to the course educators with the necessary knowledge and information on the typology of social entrepreneurs. Furthermore, views were exchanged whether the information in the draft was useful and easy-to-use as well as there was an overview of what mentors and trainers needed to know about training and mentoring social entrepreneurs, which had been linked to how SEDM supports this process.
Additionally, the educators were familiarized with the Train the Trainers Toolkit and reviewed and assessed the relevance and ease of use of the established methodology. During the training there was a workshop for social entrepreneurship and discussions on the content, structure, tools, examples and best practices to be included in the further development of the project and the TTT.
Despite the training and overview of the two intellectual outputs - SEDM & TTT, the educators from all countries, invited by the project partners, actively took part with specially designed for the training workshops as well as everyone participated in diverse gamified activities supporting the delivery of the final results of the BASET project. The participants also presented about their case studies and best practices of working with social entrepreneurs & social enterprises, partnering for change and impact investment, social entrepreneurship challenges, social inclusion, neuroscience and emotional intelligence. Moreover, the discussions also covered the Business Model Canvas for social entrepreneurs and social impact as well as social innovation acceleration programmes.
Besides all the activities and intensity of the few days in Brussels, Creative District also invited all partners and educators in an area, which the organisation is currently in the process of revitalizing, due to securing a good number of commercial spaces to promote the cultural and creative sector by implementing projects by adding societal values.
All participants had the opportunity to learn more about the work of Creative District and their business model supporting social entrepreneurs. Because of the hard work, resilience and social mission, the team at Creative District are now providing access to spaces that usually people won't have access to, such as spaces with no value or the so called 'dead spaces' causing negative image to the specific neighbourhood, but via workspaces, meeting spaces, commercial spaces and exhibition spaces, Creative District has revived plenty of areas in Brussels and has supported the business and entrepreneurship community.
During the 5 days in Brussels, Creative District organised a visit to a social enterprise-restaurant Les Uns & Les Autres in the neighbourhood of Molenbeek, where all the participants could meet the social entrepreneurs, try the deliciously prepared food and have a feel of the community union of the place. This restaurant, social and open to all, is a local service created by the Local Mission of Molenbeek in August 2004. It is approved as "Local Initiative for Employment Development" (LDEI).
The feedback of all participants' experience was extremely positive, especially because the location of the restaurant, i.e. Molenbeek, which a few years ago was in the world spotlight for its Muslim population and presented as a jihadist breeding ground. This, unfortunately, destroyed the neighbourhood's image which has been slowly recovering in the last couple of years with the help of the local authorities and social entrepreneurs embracing the diversity, creativity and culture of the area.
The Social Entrepreneurship Development Model (SEDM), which also serves as a guide for Social Entrepreneurs (SEs) educators, is the 1st output produced under the Project “Boost Aid for Social Entrepreneurship through Training” (BASET), funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission. It was created by the team of the Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club and shares the project team insights and its experience of working with entrepreneurs. This guide is followed by two other interrelated outputs - Train the Trainers Toolkit and Train the Investors Handbook. These three tools are components of a package for professionals who support or invest in the social enterprises’ development.
The model builds on the work of partner organisations: Caban Capital - UK, IDEC - Greece, Creative District - Belgium, CEED - Bulgaria and the project coordinator KISMC - Bulgaria, that have experience not only in their countries but also around the world and which collectively can be recognised as visionaries in the development of this important field of knowledge.
The purpose of SEDM is to provide the educators with practical instruments (tools) that will enable them to effectively teach, mentor and facilitate entrepreneurs who have decided to do business with a social mission.
In the context of social entrepreneurship and for the needs of the BASET project the EDUCATOR definition in this guide is: a person who acts professionally as a trainer, teacher, mentor, coach, advisor, consultant, facilitator or some other kind of professional who works with social entrepreneurs in order to facilitate and support the start-up and the development of a social business (venture).
The guide can help educators to better understand what social entrepreneurship is, what the social entrepreneurs’ profiles look like and what is the typology of the business models used. So, it will enhance the professional development of these group of people by providing them with general and specific knowledge of how to work with social entrepreneurs in an effective way.
During the first stage of the development of the BASET project and after an in-depth research of cases, good practices and findings from other projects, the partners discovered that educators who use well-structured tools can better prepare themselves for their important roles to support social entrepreneurship.
Ultimately, the guide includes a step-by-step process for assisting social entrepreneurs how to launch new ventures, support educators in exploring and using diverse models of social entrepreneurship and in giving capacity to social entrepreneurs to get a global vision.
The beta version of the guide is ready and there is an open access to read it here
The Business Model Canvas (BMC) was developed by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, and co-created with an array of 470 practitioners from around the world. It offers a simple, visual, one-page canvas on which entrepreneurs can design, innovate and dialogue about their business models. It is not the only framework that has been developed to articulate business models but like many of the frameworks this one was built out of careful research. However, unlike many others, it has also been tested and enhanced through the input of many practitioners.
In addition, the BMC itself sits inside a very innovative business model, including licensing under Creative Commons and a commitment to co-creative innovation within the methods around the BMC. Business Model Canvas and Business Model Generation book written by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur can be found here: www.businessmodelgeneration.com
Business Model Canvas & Social Enterprises
Working with the Business Model Canvas in and around the social enterprise sector Ingrid Burkett Knode realized that there were some ‘special’ things about social enterprises that could easily be reflected in the BMC using a few simple adaptations.
Ingrid Burkett Knode has used the BMC to work in the social enterprise sector and has found the canvas to be very helpful, particularly in early exploratory stages of development and in relation to growth and innovation stages. She has documented her knowledge on the BMC in the material: "Using the Business Model Canvas for Social Enterprise Design".
What she concluded was that there are three basic different ways in which social enterprises organize themselves in achieving the goals:
Many social enterprises find it difficult to explain their business models, and that many start working on their business plans before understanding their business models thoroughly.
KISMC & CABAN
As we have realized and already shared in the blog article 'Why Social Business Modelling is Important for Social Entrepreneurship' managing a social business is not about just adding business skills to the realm of social impact! Balancing a social mission with an intention to trade and manage a business requires a blending of skills which is greater than the sum of each set of skills alone.
The social impact inside a business operation is not cost neutral - so both the skills needed to deliver on a social impact and the costs involved in doing so need to be considered in designing a viable and sustainable business model. Therefore, business modelling is crucial for social entrepreneurs and for that reason, we are clarifying a few important points regarding business modelling in social entrepreneurship.
What is a Business Model?
A business model (BM) is more than the product or service an entrepreneur or a company offers. It is a logic description of how businesses make money. It is a tool that helps stakeholders understand and clearly articulate how the entrepreneur (company) creates, delivers and captures value for itself as well as the customers at an appropriate cost.
From the management point of view BM is a step-by-step plan for generating revenues and making a profit in a specific marketplace. It explains what products or services to produce and market, and how it plans to do so, including what expenses it will incur. The business models differ from each other depending on the nature of the business. To put together a good business model, one needs to know what to offer in the form of goods or services that is of value to potential customers or clients, ideally in a way that differentiates the entrepreneur (company) from its competitors (it is called value proposition). A successful business model just needs to collect more money from customers than it costs to make the product.
What does a Business Model consist of?
In their simplest forms, business models (BMs) can be broken into three parts:
So, a BM is simply an exploration of what costs and expenses the entrepreneurs (companies) have and how much they can charge for the products or services they generate. New business models can refine and improve any of these three components.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
The Boost Aid for Social Entrepreneurship through Training /BASET/ Project No. 2017-1-BG01-KA204-036360 has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
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