Business management for social entrepreneurs

For social enterprises, social impact is more important than profit maximization as they strive to benefit the most vulnerable groups and contribute to a sustainable and inclusive society. Balance between their economic, environmental and social goals is the key to success. 

Competences addressed/ learning outcomes expand_more

After completing this Learning resource participants will be able to:  
  Clarify entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship (Mindset’s upgrading)
•  Identify the essential elements of a business plan (Critical thinking)
•  Select additional resources that can help in the development of an effective full business plan (information seeking)
•  Create a one-page business plan (Goal-setting, Creativity) 


The objectives of this learning resource can be summarised as below:
•  To provide an introduction to business planning for social entrepreneurs 
•  To demonstrate how a business plan can create an anchor for success
•  To explore various options for mini-plans, working/detailed plans or presentation plans
•  To propose the minimum viable content of an operative business plan

Theoretical background expand_more

     Who is an entrepreneur?
The word "entrepreneur" literally means "to undertake" and has its roots in the old French wartime vocabulary of the 18th century. It is an act that combines strategy, organization, collaboration but also high degree of risk. Later, the term was used to describe someone who manages or promotes a theatrical production – an act again involving risk, but also creativity and teamwork. Nowadays, if we look up the word in a dictionary (e.g. Cambridge dictionary), we can see that it refers to “someone who starts their own business, especially when this involves seeing a new opportunity”. Today, entrepreneurs can sell anything: products, services, information or even…influence (just think of the so-called influencers on social media)! However, the truly successful entrepreneurs are not the ones who “sell something” but those who actually “offer solutions”. That is why it is critical for aspiring entrepreneurs to think of a business idea as a successful solution to an existing problem.
2.      What about social entrepreneurship? 
According to OECD, the term refers to the entrepreneurship that has as main goal to “address pressing social challenges and meet social needs in an innovative way while serving the general interest and common good for the benefit of the community”.

They can be either “for-profit” or “non-profit”, reinvesting their profits back into the social and/or environmental goals of the business. A social enterprise and a non-profit enterprise are not the same, although they can overlap. The fundamental difference is that the first is a business that creates its own profit to keep itself running, while the second relies on government grants and donations. 

 For social enterprises, social impact is more important than profit maximization as they strive to benefit the most vulnerable groups and contribute to a sustainable and inclusive society. Balance between their economic, environmental and social goals is the key to success. 

Coursera (2023), in its guide about social entrepreneurship, gives a side-by-side comparison of the entrepreneur and the social entrepreneur:

  Entrepreneur Social entrepreneur
Objective Build a sustainable business Build a sustainable and socially impactful business
Motive Financially driven Mission-driven
Focus Individual consumers Social groups
Link to social issuess Indirect Direct
Competition/Collaboration Competitive with related businesses Collaborative with related businesses
Success Based on sustainable profits Based on sustainable social impact

Social enterprises can contribute to job creation, inclusiveness, equal opportunities, sustainability and civic participation. Some of them might offer care services or provide job opportunities for vulnerable groups, while others might address various other societal and/or environmental challenges, such as achieving sustainable development goals. Many of them are innovative and find opportunities in cases where neither mainstream businesses nor public authorities can deliver (European Commission, 2020). 

3. What is a business plan and why do entrepreneurs need it?
First of all, we should clarify that planning and plans are not the same. Planning is an active ongoing process, while plans are the documentation of planning. Planning is essential, both personally and professionally: from thinking about our vacation to starting a new business, planning and plans help us to achieve our goals and allow us to use our time and other resources more efficiently.
For businesses, planning can’t guarantee success but a business without planning and plans is doomed to fail. A business plan is a written document that can be seen as “roadmap” for any business. It defines in detail a company's objectives and how it prepares to achieve its goals. It is an essential tool for people who want to start a new business or grow an already established enterprise. 

 A business plan can help, especially the aspiring entrepreneur to answer some fundamental questions: 
· “Why do I want to start the business (what problem am I trying to address)?” - In the case of social enterprises, this question articulates the business’ social mission, namely “what social problems am I trying to solve and how?”.  
· “How do I want to run my company?”
·  “How can I prove to my investors/sponsors/collaborators my accountability?”.

In other words, a business plan is necessary for future entrepreneurs, since it can help them:
- to check if their business ideas will work,
- to learn more about the market,
- to outline each area of the business,
- to set up milestones and -if applicable-
- to attract investors/funding and collaborators. 

4. How detailed a business plan needs to be? What should be included?
Business plans vary greatly in length, appearance and content, while emphasis could be given on different aspects of the business, depending on the intended use of the plan (e.g., the need for investors).  
For example, there are mini-plans, working/detailed plans or presentation plans:
· Mini-plans are usually created to test assumptions, concept, and measure the interest of potential investors, that is why give less emphasis on details. 
· Working plans are used continuously to review business operations and progress (e.g. annual plan) and give total emphasis on every possible detail. 
· Presentation plans lay emphasis on marketability of the business concept, providing  information about the business to bankers, investors and other external resources.

A common -detailed- business plan outline includes, in a nutshell, the following sections: 

5. Vision, Mission and Values
If your mission is focused on what your business is and does “now”, vision is the “tomorrow”. What we do on a daily basis is the mission, while the future we want to achieve is the vision.
· Vision for social enterprises is always related with what society would look like if the identified problem has been solved. It might look like a “dream”, but the existence of a plan can make it come closer to reality. E.g., A society were foreign born women’s’ voices are heard, a world with less plastics in the oceans, a society with more opportunities for vulnerable groups etc. 
· Mission describes the purpose of the business, including what it does for your community.
· Your business's values communicate the ethos and motives of your organisation, e.g. to trade ethically. 

Step-by-step implementation expand_more

This session and related activities are aimed at women entrepreneurs who have already consolidated their social business idea and seek to validate it, but also at women without a clear entrepreneurial idea, who could work in small groups to discuss and put on paper a new collective idea. 

It is highly advised that you connect the material with the related content under the following ETHIKAS learning resources: 
Social Business ideation: Canvas B: start thinking of the purpose and the problem, not the product
Reaching out (to your clients and the world)
Networking - Taking the initiative to boost your networking trough Napkin & Elevator Pitches

1. Brainstorming & discussion
a)      Ask your learners to brainstorm by asking the question “What comes to your mind when you hear the word entrepreneur?”. Create two columns on the board and write their answers on the first column. Then start a discussion, using the definitions already presented and the material available through “References and “Further Resources” sections
b)      Run a second brainstorming round by asking the question “What comes to your mind when you hear the word social entrepreneurship?”. Write down the answers in the second column and discuss.
Alternatively, if your learners feel reluctant to speak, you can have “sticky note brainstorming”, asking from participants to write one answer per sticky note and place them on the board or even on a wall for everyone to see. Next, you can group the answers by topics or themes and start the discussion.
Make sure that it will become clear to your learners that social entrepreneurship is a form of entrepreneurship (that is why the two columns could contain some same words), however social entrepreneurs aim to achieve a social purpose and create social value.  

TIP: At the beginning of the brainstorming make sure that you set some basic rules like “All ideas are okay – there is no right or wrong answer”, “we seek for quantity, not necessarily quality”, “we don’t evaluate, criticize or comment the answers of others”, “it is fine to build on other people’s answers”.

2. Business plan – the basics
Use the theoretical material already presented and search for further resources to explain to your learners about business planning and business plans, focusing on the usefulness of the “one-page business plan” for social businesses:
· It includes all of your social business information at a glance!
· It is an extremely useful tool that provides a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it.
· It can be an excellent starting point for a full business plan.
· It includes all the basic components of a full plan but is briefer and more focused.
· It is simple to create and easy to update.
· It an help you to quickly get initial feedback from future partners, potential customers, beneficiaries or sponsors or simply from friends and family, so that you plan your next steps.
· It can serve as an enhanced pitch document.
· Depending the case, it can be used even as an “executive summary” of a detailed business plan. 

3. Drafting a one-page business plan for a social enterprise
a) If your learners already have an idea about a social enterprise, they can either work individually or pair up with another learner who hasn’t decided yet. Alternatively, learners who haven’t’ yet formulated their business ideas can work together in a group of 3-4 and -why not? - a future collaboration might begin. 
b) Print and hand over to each learner or each group the ETHIKAS “one-page business plan” for social enterprises and give ~35-45 minutes to prepare the first draft.
c) Explain that the purpose is not to create a “perfect plan” but to draft a plan that will help them to get all of their ideas and information down so that they can quickly test, refine and revise their plan.
d) Act as a mentor and assist learners if necessary, offering guidance and/or valuable sources.  
Are you looking for inspiring examples? 
·  TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie started TOMS with the mission to donate one pair of shoes for every pair sold and now TOMS invests ⅓ of the company’s profits for grassroots good, supporting health, education, and community development.
·   Grameen Bank (now the Grameen Foundation), funded by Muhammad Yunus is a microfinance organization that gives small loans, primarily to women, to help them get out of poverty. 

TIP: Search for inspiring case studies from your country or from your learners’ countries. 

4. Presentations & feedback
Each learner/each team (possibly via a spokesperson or all together in turns) will present their business plan and receive feedback both from their peers and you, as the trainer. Close the session by asking learners how they feel and what impressed them the most during the learning session.

Time needed and group sizeexpand_more

1. Brainstorming & discussion: 20-25 minutes
2. Business plan – the basics: 20 minutes
3. Drafting a one-page business plan for a social enterprise: 45 minutes
4. Presentations & feedback: 45 minutes

GROUP SIZE: 5-6 learners who will create their one-page business plan individually or 10-12 learners who will work in smaller groups (2-3) to create one plan per group.

Materials needed for implementationexpand_more

· Whiteboard or paper board
· Marker
· Printed copies of the one-page business plan
· PPT presentation (You can use material from this source to create a presentation)
· Internet connection & projector (optional – if you want to show video related material)

Further resources: Videos and/or useful linksexpand_more

European Commission (n.d.). Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (a cross-border programme facilitating the exchange of entrepreneurial and management experience), more information   
European Commission (n.d.). Supporting entrepreneurship.    
European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Carini, C., Borzaga, C., Chiomento, S. (2020). Social enterprises and their ecosystems in Europe: comparative synthesis report, Publications Office.  
Porter, M. (2013). The case for letting business solve social problems. TED Talk (in multiple languages).  
Social Innovation Academy (2022). Best social entrepreneurs in Europe 2022. Social Innovation Blog, 30 Sept. 
WEgate (n.d.). Supporting women in building their business with vision and agility.

Referencesexpand_more (n.d.). Vision - A Social Entrepreneur's Starting Point. 
Berry, T. (2023). Use This Simple Business Plan Outline to Organize Your Plan. Updated June 23.  
Bplans (n.d.). How to Write a One-Page Business Plan. (Video included in EN)  
Coursera (2023). What Is Social Entrepreneurship? A Guide.  
EDEEY Erasmus+ project (2020-2021). Ethical Digital Entrepreneurship for European Youth (EDEEY). Business planning and practical advice from experts (full lesson)  
JIMINY Erasmus+ project (2019-2021). Journey to lncrease your techniques of eMotional lntelligence, digital awareNess and ntrepreneurship lifestyle (JIMINY). JIMINY Self-Help Handbook (Module 3.1. What does it mean to have an entrepreneurship lifestyle/ thinking? How to take economically safe decisions?). Available in multiple languages (EN, ES, EL, IT, PL, PT, RO)  &  
Lumen (n.d.). Pros and Cons of Planning. Module 3: Planning and Mission  
OECD (n.d.). Social Entrepreneurship in Europe- An OECD-European Commission Project.  
University of San Diego (n.d.) Social Entrepreneurship 101: A Guide to the Mission-Driven Business Sector.  
Wichtner-Zoia, Y. (2013). Brainstorming is divergent thinking! Michigan State University.
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