Social enterprise is having a profit making business that is a part of your budget. The profits go toward supporting your social mission. It can supply many resources for your target population . It is unlimited in its approach as to what fits your program. It can supply employment, training, housing, economic impact or can be totally unrelated to your program.
Many foundations are now taking a long hard look at social enterprise programs as it relates to long term sustainability. Their willingness to fund this type of program is the fastest growing move in the field of philanthropy . A solid business plan is what they want to look at, no different than a well done grant proposal. I will be adding links to our site to lead you to some Foundations that are doing this type of funding.
The following is a simple check list for you to start with. It is based on our years of experience. I will be adding to it as time allows so check back often. Our wood shop is our biggest program but we also have a retail store, we do transportation logistics with our own trucks and warehouses, we do minor repairs and maintenance and most anything else that comes our way. We would be glad to advise you as best we can on your specific project, just contact us.
Number one key is to have someone on board that has an entrepreneurial spirit.
Your executive director is most likely NOT that person. Create an advisory board of business people. Seek their wisdom and knowledge not their check book.
Next look at the need of your target group. If they need jobs look at businesses that create jobs. If they need housing get in the housing business. Look hard in the area and see if there are gaps in services or products. Talk with your local economic development folks they may have some great idea’s and may be able to help fund your program.
Get in touch with a good commercial real estate broker. DON”T just get in a Fixer up situation that’s cheap, it could drain all your funds and energy. After looking at available space then you can project what type and size business you could have. You can’t repair cars on the third floor of an old run down warehouse.
After this you want to do a market survey , put some real time into this as its great to make widgets, even very profitably but you can’t sell them oops.
At some point you may want to touch base with your local S.B.A. office. They provide all their services for FREE.
After all this is done and ready “GO for IT” it will not be an easy ride. Stick with it and don’t be afraid to make adjustment as needed.
Much more detail to be posted soon.