Simply put, social enterprises are charity programmes with a for-profit business model. Hence their success is measured by the impact they have on the social agenda they’ve chosen, along with their bottom lines.
In the MENA region, social entrepreneurs are facing challenges when it comes to maintaining focus and understanding the business lingo. Here are the three blind spots that social entrepreneurs should focus upon:
Money: Capital is the key to making an impact. Donations are not sustainable, nor do they come from a business mindset. Social entrepreneurs need to find sustainable ways to develop their for-profit business. VCs are great, but there are only a handful interested in social ventures. But government grants and funding from international donors can cover the gaps. Just remember to give the financial aspect the same weightage as that of the impact.
Innovative business model: Translate your impact to quantifiable and measurable results, it’s key to measuring success. Develop primary and secondary performance indicators; and integrated the social impact with the profit-making model, so as the profit scales, so does the impact.
Connect with your audience: Do your research and know the investors interested in social impact, and develop a pitch that speaks to them. It is easy to confuse social enterprises as charity organisations; so make sure you create and show a simple value chain for your business. Make it quantifiable, measurable, financially viable and empathic to the social challenge.
Another tip: you may be the entrepreneur with money in the bank, but make sure you walk the talk, especially to your investors. If you burn money on expensive luxuries, it sets a bad precedent for your intentions and passion for a social enterprise.
Read more about these blindspots here.