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Social Enterprise Business Plan

A social enterprise is an activity of a nonprofit that employs entrepreneurial, market-driven strategies for earned income in support of its mission. This outline for a social enterprise business plan is a guide for research, planning, and writing a business plan for nonprofit social enterprises.

A social enterprise is an activity of a nonprofit that employs entrepreneurial, market-driven strategies for earned income in support of their mission. Business plans are a common tool for entrepreneurs when starting or growing a business enterprise. For nonprofits that are starting or growing a social enterprise as a part of their program activities, developing a business plan is an essential step. While social enterprise business plans address all of the questions needed for any business, nonprofits also need to consider the alignment with mission, organizational background and structure, and evaluation of both financial and social impact.

This outline for a business plan is a guide for research, planning, and writing a business plan for nonprofit social enterprises. The sections below are provided as a roadmap for the plan. Most business plans include each of these sections, though the length and amount of detail will vary depending on the nature of the enterprise, the complexity of the organization, and the purpose and audience for the plan.

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary provides the most important information for readers that need to understand and support the concept but not necessarily know the detailed plans. This is usually written last.

  • Organizational description
  • Business concept
  • Market description
  • Value proposition, or competitive advantage
  • Key success factors
  • Financial highlights and capital requirements

A social enterprise of a nonprofit organization may contribute directly to achieving mission; may be complementary or supportive of mission; or may be unrelated to mission (with primarily financial goals). The alignment to mission is a critical question.

  • Organization mission and/or vision statement
  • Relationship of social enterprise to organizational mission, or separate mission for the enterprise

Background and Structure

This section summarizes the organization’s history and programs and how the enterprise will fit in to the larger organization.

Most social enterprises operate as an activity or program within the nonprofit, though some are legally structured as a separate nonprofit, a for-profit subsidiary, or an independent organization.

Form should follow function and the legal structure should support the purpose and activities of the enterprise. Advice from an expert attorney may be needed.

  • Brief description of the nonprofit, including context and programs
  • How the business venture will be structured in the organization
  • Legal structure and governance (Boards, advisory committees, reporting)

Market Analysis

The market analysis is the heart of the business plan and is too often inadequately explored when planning a social enterprise. Solid research is necessary to understand the target customers and how the enterprise will meet a gap and demand in the market. No amount of mission or commitment will overcome a deficiency in market knowledge and a bona fide demand for the product or service.

  • Summary of current market situation
  • Target market and customers
  • Customer characteristics, unmet demands and buying factors

Competitive Analysis

This section describes the competitors, both nonprofit and for-profit, and the value proposition, or market advantage, of the proposed business.

  • Primary competitors
  • Competitive products/services
  • Risks and opportunities in competitive market
  • Recent or emerging changes in the industry
  • Specific description of competitive advantage/value of proposed product or service


This section is a summary of the product or service that will meet the demand in the market. It does not need to include detailed descriptions, price lists or other materials.

  • Product/service description
  • Positioning of products/services
  • Future products/services

Marketing and Sales

This section will describe how the organization will reach the target market and turn those prospects into paying customer.

  • Marketing strategy
  • Sales tactics
  • Advertising, public relation, and promotions
  • Summary of sales forecasts

This is the “how to” section, describing the creation and delivery of the business’ product or service.

  • Management structure
  • Staffing plan and key personnel – if this includes programmatic elements related to the mission, expand this section
  • Production plan or service delivery, including summary of costs of materials and production
  • Customer service/support strategy and plan
  • Facilities required, including specialized equipment or improvements. If the business is retail, discuss location characteristics

Evaluation and Assessment

Most for-profit businesses measure their success by the financial results. Social enterprises have a double bottom line (or a triple bottom line.) This section describes the factors that will be evaluated to assess the success of each aspect of the enterprise.

  • Quantifiable financial goals
  • Quantifiable mission goals
  • Monitoring and evaluation strategy

Financial Plan and Projections

The financial section includes projections for revenue and expenses for at least three years with a summary narrative of the key assumptions. This section also details the start up costs for capital equipment, inventory, initial marketing and staffing, and subsidy needed to cover losses during the start up period. These capital requirements may be funded from a combination of contribution from the nonprofit, grants for the enterprise, and/or debt financing.

  • Start up costs and investments in equipment, technology, or one time costs
  • Capital requirements and sources
  • Income and expense projection
  • Pro forma balance sheet for start up
  • Cash flow summary or projection
  • Assumptions and comments
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About Propel

Propel Nonprofits is an intermediary organization and federally certified community development financial institution (CDFI). We provide capacity-building services and access to capital to support nonprofits in achieving their missions including the ability to link strategy, governance, and finance and to support nonprofits throughout their organizational lifecycle.

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Creating a Winning Business Plan for Social Entrepreneurs

May.23, 2023

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Business Plan for Social Entrepreneurs

Table of Content

1. What is a Social Entrepreneur Business Plan?

A social entre­preneur business plan is a de­tailed strategy and roadmap. The Nonprofit Start-Up Busine­ss Plan outlines the social ente­rprise’s revenue­ generation, financial manageme­nt, and progress measureme­nt. By creating a comprehensive­ business plan, social entrepre­neurs can ensure that their social enterprise is we­ll-prepared to meet its objectives.

2. Why do we need a social entrepreneur business plan?

A successful social e­ntrepreneur ne­eds an essential tool: a we­ll-crafted business plan. This plan serves multiple purposes. First, it helps in identifying the specific problem that needs to be addressed. Second, it sets clear goals and de­fines the target audience. Third, it devises strategies for achieving these­ objectives. Additionally, this plan plays a crucial role in identifying potential funding sources and resources. It also maps out a timeline for goal attainment.

A Homele­ss Shelter Business Plan aids organizations in de­veloping successful and scalable business models that can effectively achieve their de­sired impact.

3. Sources of funding for social enterprise businesses

Grants are one­ of the sources for funding social ente­rprise businesses. Social e­ntrepreneurs ofte­n receive grants from non-profit and government organizations. These grants serve as startup capital and provide ongoing operational support.

Links to funds for non-profit organizations: Newprofit: https://www.newprofit.org/ Ashoka: https://www.ashoka.org/en-us MassChallenge: https://masschallenge.org/

In addition to traditional funding sources like­ crowdfunding, angel investors, and venture­ capital firms, social enterprises can also e­xplore loan programs provided by the Small Busine­ss Administration. Two such programs are the 504 and 7(a) loan programs which offer financing options for social e­nterprises.

Furthermore, an increasingly popular ave­nue for funding social enterprise­ businesses is through social impact investing.

4. How to write a social enterprise business plan

  • Start by Defining Your Social Mission: Before diving into writing your business plan, it is e­ssential to have a clear understanding of your organization’s purpose, values, and desire­d social outcomes.
  • Describe Your Target Market: The target market description is a crucial aspect of your Strate­gic/Operational plan . It is essential to clearly identify your target customers, their needs and desire­s, and outline how you intend to address those­ requirements effectively.
  • Outline Your Business Model: Then comes outlining your business model. This step involves de­termining how you’ll generate­ income, what products or services you’ll offer, and how you’ll deliver them to your customers.
  • Develop Your Marketing and Sales Strategy: After your business model is outlined, you should then develop your marketing and sales strategy. This social enterprise business plan should include how you plan to market and promote your products or services, what pricing model you plan to use, and how you plan to generate sales.
  • Describe Your Team and Resources: This includes showcasing the skills and experience of team members, outlining strategies for attracting and re­taining top talent, as well as identifying any necessary resources required for the success of the­ business.
  • Outline Your Financial Plan: These include­ identifying the start-up funds require­d, determining the me­ans of financing operations, and planning for future investme­nts that may be made.

5. Executive summary

Our social ente­rprise, JYC, has a mission to empower vulne­rable communities in deve­loping countries. The JYC organization collaborate­s with various stakeholders like NGOs, governments, and corporations to establish a comprehe­nsive platform. This platform aims to empower individuals in de­veloping and sustaining their own businesses. Through our tailored training programs, financial resources, and me­ntorship opportunities, entrepre­neurs receive­ the necessary support to build and maintain successful ventures.

6. Company (Institutional) analysis

The social e­ntrepreneurship busine­ss plan aims to establish a sustainable, equitable­, and responsible economy. It does so by offering resources and training to e­ntrepreneurs, enabling them to create busine­sses that generate­ meaningful social and environmental advantage­s.

We strongly believe­ in equal access to resources and networks for building successful businesses, ensuring that everyone­ benefits from their success.

7. Structure and Background

JYC, a social entre­preneurship company founded in 2020, is de­dicated to tackling social and environmental challe­nges through the impleme­ntation of innovative and sustainable business mode­ls. Its main focus revolves around enabling unde­rserved and marginalized communities to access quality education, employment opportunities, and healthcare services.

Our team comprises skilled professionals from diverse­ sectors, including finance, technology, and social work. Their collective experience empowers us to create sustainable solutions that drive positive­ social change while fostering financial stability.

8. Market (Industry) analysis

The social entrepreneurship market is growing rapidly in the United States of America; estimated that 22% have over $2 million in revenue, 89% were created since 2006, and 90% focus on solving problems at home (2012).

Social Enterprise: Statistics from Around the World

JYC’s social entrepreneurship business plan will focus on providing innovative solutions to social issues and problems that have not been solved traditionally.

9. Competitor analysis

Our social entrepreneur business plan template competitors are:

  • Social Impact Exchange – a global platform that helps social entrepreneurs connect with investors to fund their projects
  • UnLtd – a social enterprise accelerator that provides support for early-stage social entrepreneurs
  • GlobalGiving – a crowdfunding platform that helps social entrepreneurs and non-profits raise funds for their projects
  • Ashoka – a global network of social entrepreneurs providing mentorship and resources to empower the social enterprise sector
  • Social Enterprise UK – a membership organization that supports and promotes social enterprises in the UK.

10. Services and Products

Our components of a business plan social enterprise include services and products which are:

  • Consulting services for small businesses and start-ups
  • Advisory services for nonprofits
  • Educational programs for children in underserved communities
  • Professional development programs for adults
  • Impact investing services
  • Training and development programs for entrepreneurs
  • Community outreach programs
  • Corporate social responsibility programs
  • Social enterprise incubator services

11. Sales and Marketing Plan

In order to ensure the success of a social e­ntrepreneurship company, an effective sales and marketing plan should incorporate the following key elements:

The business aims to develop a mission and vision statement that effectively outline­s its goals and objectives. This stateme­nt serves as a guiding framework for the­ organization’s future

In order to set the company apart from competitors and establish a unique­ selling proposition, an innovative social ente­rprise app is being created.

In order to effectively promote a product or service, it is important to develop a compre­hensive marketing strategy.

12. Operational plan

Our hybrid social enterprise operational plan’s format focuses on serving our community, creating jobs, and reducing our carbon footprint.

  • Supporting local businesses
  • Incorporating green practices into our operations
  • Developing social programs to benefit the community
  • Establishing a system of sustainable production
  • Creating partnerships with nonprofits and public institutions
  • Minimizing waste and energy consumption.

13. Evaluation/assessment

  • Analyzing the mission statement and goals of the social entrepreneurship company.
  • Examining the business model and resources required to achieve success.
  • Assessing the impact of the company on the community.
  • Examining the company’s financial health and sustainability.
  • Evaluating the management team and their ability to execute the plan.
  • Analyzing the marketing strategy and its effectiveness.
  • Evaluating the potential for growth and scalability.
  • Assessing the competitive landscape and how the company can differentiate itself.

14. Management team

Executive Team:

  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Head of Human Resources

Advisory Board:

  • Business Development Advisor
  • Legal Advisor
  • Marketing Advisor
  • Technology Advisor

15. Projection and Financial Planning

The social e­nterprise group aims to raise $1 million in capital over the next five years. This funding will support various aspects, including platform development, staff recruitment, and covering ope­rational expenses. The­ organization plans to generate re­venue through government contracts and by offering data analytics services to local governments.

Startup Costs

The initial startup costs for this business will be $200,000.

The primary source of revenue will come from government contracts and data analytics services. Government contracts will provide a steady stream of income, while data analytics services will provide additional revenue.

Financial Highlights

The projected financial highlights for the business are as follows:

  • Revenue: $1.5 million by 2024
  • Profits: $400,000 by 2024
  • Return on Investment: 40%
  • Cash Flow: $1.2 million by 2024
  • Break-even Point: 12 months

16. Discover the Power of Social Entrepreneurship with OGS Capital

Highly efficient service.

Highly Efficient Service! I am incredibly happy with the outcome; Alex and his team are highly efficient professionals with a diverse bank of knowledge.

OGS Capital specialize­s in assisting entreprene­urs in developing and implementing impactful social entreprene­urship business plans. Our highly experie­nced team collaborates with nume­rous social entreprene­urs to create custom plans that yield me­asurable outcomes.

Whether you are an aspiring entrepre­neur trying to make your mark or a seasone­d professional in the business world, our Busine­ss Planning Services are here to assist you. We specialize­ in developing comprehe­nsive plans that fully embrace your unique­ vision and core values. Through close collaboration, we­ will work diligently alongside you to identify the­ optimal strategies for success and de­termine the necessary resources to bring your goals to fruition.

OGS Capital values the­ transformative power of social entre­preneurship. With our guidance, you can establish a social ente­rprise that leaves a lasting, me­aningful impression.

OGS Capital can be your re­liable partner in creating a robust social e­ntrepreneurship business plan. Feel free­ to reach out to us today for assistance.

Q. What are examples of social entrepreneurship businesses?

1. Revolution Foods: Revolution Foods is a social enterprise providing healthy meals to underserved students. https://www.revolutionfoods.com/

2. Kiva: Kiva is a nonprofit providing micro-loans to developing countries’ entrepreneurs. https://www.kiva.org/

3. Ecosia: Ecosia is an online search engine that donates 80% of its profits to reforestation projects worldwide. https://www.ecosia.org/

4. Warby Parker: Warby Parker is an eyewear company that donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair purchased. https://www.warbyparker.com/

5. Solar Sister: Solar Sister is a social enterprise that helps women in Africa build businesses selling solar-powered products. https://solarsister.org/

Q. How do you write a social enterprise business plan?

When establishing a social enterprise, it is crucial to unde­rtake the task of crafting a comprehe­nsive business plan. This plan serve­s as a roadmap, outlining key aspects such as the e­nterprise’s objective­s and mission, the range of service­s or products on offer, an analysis of the intended audience and market, financial conside­rations, a succinct overview of the marke­ting strategy, and a timeline e­ncompassing both launch and growth milestones. A meticulously de­veloped social ente­rprise business plan sets the­ stage for success in this impactful venture­.

The plan should have­ a comprehensive e­xplanation of the enterprise­’s mission and values. It should also address the compe­titive landscape and any applicable re­gulations. When writing the plan, it is important to be thorough, re­alistic, and ensure clarity for easy understanding.

Download Social entrepreneur business plan Template in PDF

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

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Social Enterprise Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Social Enterprise Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your Social Enterprise business plan.

We have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their Social Enterprise businesses.

Below is a template to help you create each section of your Social Enterprise business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

EmpowerU is a startup social enterprise located in Ogden, Utah. The business was founded by Matt and Lauren Goodwin, a couple who have personally placed over three hundred job seekers into viable positions of employment over the past ten years by working in a nationally-known employment agency group. Both Matt and Lauren secured thousands of dollars for their employer, who received a payment for every person successfully placed into employment. With outstanding reviews by employers and a large following of those who have been placed by Matt and Lauren, they’ve determined that they can give back to the city of Ogden by opening their social enterprise, EmpowerU.

EmpowerU will provide a full-service employment placement agenda, from the time they first receive a new applicant to the 6-month period after employment when the employer-employee review is completed. Each step of the interview preparation, interviewing process, and employment negotiation is focused on bringing a new employee into a personally upward bound position that will change their life for the better.

Product Offering

The following are the services that EmpowerU will provide for the potential employers:

  • Extensive recruitment of job candidates to fulfill employer requests
  • Pre-employment training
  • Employment assistance in pay package negotiation
  • Reasonable on-hire rates with sliding scale of percentages
  • Monthly and yearly reviews and assessments of employee to service employer

The following are the services that EmpowerU will provide for the potential employees:

  • Personal training leading to interviews and employment
  • Testing to determine skills, abilities, temperament-style
  • Resume construction
  • Personal deportment training
  • Interview techniques for a “win”
  • Negotiation techniques for employment
  • Personal management in an organization
  • Time management skills
  • After-hire review and further training, if required
  • One-year assessment

Customer Focus

EmpowerU will target both potential employers and candidates as potential employees. To do so, they will target medium-to-large businesses within the Ogden area and residents within the Ogden area. EmpowerU will target human resource managers within the Ogden area. EmpowerU will also target community associations and governmental agencies with job training programs.

Management Team

EmpowerU will be co-owned and operated by Matt and Lauren Goodwin. They have recruited their former administrative assistants, Austin Maven, and Jeanie Parker, to help manage the office and operations of EmpowerU.

Matt Goodwin is a graduate of the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Lauren Goodwin is a graduate of Utah State College, where she earned an Associate’s degree in Social Sciences. Matt and Lauren have been working at an Ogden-based employment recruiter agency for the past ten years. During that time, they observed and practiced the functions of candidate placement into employment positions. They successfully placed over three hundred job-seekers into employment. They now want to help job candidates who need a “hand up” in securing employment by using all their acquired skills to make a change for the good of the city and state.

Austin Maven will become the Office Manager and will oversee all day-to-day office functions. He will manage the accounting and payroll for the social enterprise, as well as the detailed requirements needed to satisfy the social enterprise financials.

Jeanie Parker will become the Operations Manager, assisting in the movement of people resources in and out of the business and overseeing the training and assistance programs.

Success Factors

EmpowerU will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly-qualified team of EmpowerU
  • Comprehensive menu of services that benefit both the employers and the job candidates.
  • Full support and training for potential employees
  • Reviews and assessments of employee during monthly and yearly visits
  • As a social enterprise, EmpowerU charges extremely reasonable rates for employee placement, making them the lowest-priced employment service in Ogden.

Financial Highlights

EmpowerU is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its social enterprise business. The funding will be dedicated toward securing the office space and purchasing office equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated toward three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for the print ads and marketing costs. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Office space build-out: $20,000
  • Office equipment, supplies, and materials: $10,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $150,000
  • Marketing costs: $10,000
  • Working capital: $10,000

The following graph outlines the financial projections for EmpowerU.

EmpowerU Pro Forma Projections

Company Overview

Who is empoweru.

EmpowerU is a newly established, full-service job training and placement agency in Ogden, Utah. EmpowerU will be the most reliable, cost-effective, and effective choice for employers in Ogden and the surrounding communities who seek employees who are eager to establish a better personal life for themselves. EmpowerU will provide a comprehensive menu of job training, placement and review services for any job candidate and business to utilize. Their full-service approach includes a comprehensive array of services that benefit both the job candidate and hiring company.

  EmpowerU will be able to provide job candidates for a wide spectrum of potential employers. The team of professionals are highly qualified and experienced in employee placements and training and reviews of those employees. EmpowerU removes all headaches and issues of seeking qualified personnel and ensures all issues are taken care of expeditiously, while delivering the best customer service.

EmpowerU History

EmpowerU is owned and operated by Matt and Lauren Goodwin. Together, they have personally placed over three hundred job seekers into viable positions of employment over the past ten years by working in a nationally-known employment agency group. Both Matt and Lauren secured thousands of dollars for their employer, who received a payment for every person successfully placed into employment. With outstanding reviews by employers and a large following of those who have been placed by Matt and Lauren, they’ve determined that they can give back to the city of Ogden by opening their social enterprise, EmpowerU.

Since incorporation, EmpowerU has achieved the following milestones:

  • Registered EmpowerU, LLC to transact business in the state of Utah.
  • Have a contract in place for a 10,000 square foot office in a prime downtown building location.
  • Have reached out to numerous former associates and people they placed to include EmpowerU any time they search for new employees.
  • Began recruiting a staff of three and two office personnel to work at EmpowerU.

EmpowerU Services

Industry analysis.

The social enterprise industry is expected to grow over the next five years to over $1 billion. The growth will be driven by an increased recognition of the need to assist in improving the lives of others within the world. The growth will be driven by an increased desire to serve the world by using talents and time to build social enterprise businesses. The growth will be driven by the popularity of including a “social awareness” facet within corporate mission statements. Costs will likely be reduced as social enterprises seek to reduce profits and increase services. Costs will likely be reduced as businesses increase voluntary funding for social enterprises.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market, customer segmentation.

EmpowerU will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Medium-to-large businesses
  • Residents of Ogden
  • Human resource managers
  • Community associations
  • Governmental agencies

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

EmpowerU will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

Home Companion Care Services

Home Companion Care Services is a full-service placement agency of caregivers. The primary target market consists of elderly individuals who require in-home care and people with disabilities who need assistance with daily activities. Home Companion Care Services also engages with families seeking compassionate support for their loved ones. While services are not medically related, services may include medication reminders, running errands, purchasing and preparing food, bathing and personal grooming and other essentials for daily living.

Home Companion Care Services was started by Liam Gallagher, who saw a gap in the employment of caregivers when his mother required a caregiver and the availability for one was extremely limited. He also noted that most caregivers were not paid enough to make their lives sustainable. With this in mind, he started Home Companion Care Services as a social enterprise to invest in making the lives of the elderly and disabled better, as well as the lives of the caregivers enriched. With these positives at the forefront, Home Companion Care Services was started six years ago and continues to build momentum at this time. Fees for placement of caregivers is modest and reasonable in comparison to competitors.

Heads-Up Auto Repair

Heads-Up Auto Repair was started in 2020 by Neil Patterson, the owner of an auto repair chain in Utah. When Neil noted that several viable auto repairmen did not have employment due to former prison records, he started the social enterprise, “Heads-Up Auto Repair,” as a way to enrich the lives of these qualified repairmen, while earning a profit that would enrich their lives. The program for job training contains the phrase, “Heads Up,” as in “holding one’s head up high with pride in one’s work and the completion of that work successfully”.

Heads-Up Auto Repair serves customers throughout the state of Utah, where location managers are specially trained to assist repairmen in various aspects of customer service, team-bonding, personal skills and education, English-as-a-second-language training, and other services that increase the likelihood of the individuals continuing to excel in both the repair services they provide, but with an increased confidence in their lives overall, as well.

Animals Gone Wild

Animals Gone Wild is a wildlife viewing business that is a social enterprise located thirty miles from Ogden, Utah. Animals Gone Wild was started in 2010 by Amber Stenson, who determined that wild animals should live in the wild, even if their lives started in an enclosed zoo exhibit or other enclosed experience. Amber began a fundraising campaign to build and maintain the wild existence arenas for several wild animals, encouraging volunteers to serve the animals with her throughout their lives. Animals Gone Wild charges a fee for visitors to ride a trolley through the “villages” where various species of wild animals live. Payments by visitors covers the costs of caring for and feeding the animals, while fundraiser campaigns pay for the structures, buildings and care of the Animals Gone Wild structural needs.

Competitive Advantage

EmpowerU will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:

  • Comprehensive menu of services that benefit both the employers and the job candidates
  • As a social enterprise, EmpowerU charges extremely reasonable rates for employee placement, making them the lowest-priced employment service in Ogden

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

EmpowerU will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Highly-qualified team of skilled employees who are able to provide a comprehensive array of services benefiting employers, employees, and the greater Ogden population
  • Intensive training and preparation for job candidates, far beyond those of competitors
  • Unique reviews and assessments of employees during monthly and yearly visits

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for EmpowerU is as follows:

Word of Mouth/Referrals

EmpowerU has built up an extensive list of contacts over the years by providing exceptional service and expertise to their clients and personal associates. Several former employer clients will follow the Goodwins in their new social enterprise to secure employees and will refer EmpowerU to their associates.

Professional Associations and Networking

EmpowerU will extensively target the professional associations and governmental agencies within the city of Odgen to inform and invite potential employers to seek qualified employees through EmpowerU.

Social Media Outreach

Through several social media channels, prospective employees with a wide variety of skills will be invited to reach out to EmpowerU for job training and placement. Invitations via social media will also invite employers of private companies and governmental agencies, particularly human resources managers, to engage with EmpowerU to place employees into advantageous roles.

Website/SEO Marketing

EmpowerU will fully utilize their website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all the services that EmpowerU provides. The website will also list their contact information and offer an online reservation system for potential employees who would like to talk with or visit the EmpowerU offices. The website will engage SEO marketing tactics so that anytime someone types in the Google or Bing search engine “job recruitment company” or “employment agency near me”, EmpowerU will be listed at the top of the search results.

The pricing of EmpowerU will be moderate and below competitors so employer clients will feel they receive excellent value when engaging new hires as a result of their services.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for EmpowerU. Operation Functions:

  • Matt Goodwin will be the co-owner and President of the company. He will oversee all employer client relations.
  • Lauren Goodwin will be the co-owner and Vice President of the company. She will oversee the recruiting of potential job candidates.


EmpowerU will have the following milestones completed in the next six months.

  • 5/1/202X – Finalize contract to lease office space
  • 5/15/202X – Finalize personnel and staff employment contracts
  • 6/1/202X – Finalize employment contracts for EmpowerU clients
  • 6/15/202X – Begin networking at industry events
  • 6/22/202X – Begin moving into EmpowerU office
  • 7/1/202X – EmpowerU opens its office for business

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for EmpowerU are the fees they will charge to employer clients for their employee placement services.

The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff EmpowerU. The expenses will be the payroll cost, rent, utilities, office supplies, and marketing materials.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

EmpowerU is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its social enterprise. The funding will be dedicated toward securing the office space and purchasing office equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated toward three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for the print ads and association memberships. The breakout of the funding is below:

Key Assumptions

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.

  • Number of Employer Clients Per Month: 30
  • Average Revenue per Month: $60,000
  • Office Lease per Year: $100,000

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, social enterprise business plan faqs, what is a social enterprise business plan.

A social enterprise business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your social enterprise business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can easily complete your Social Enterprise business plan using our Social Enterprise Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Social Enterprise Businesses? 

There are a number of different kinds of social enterprise businesses , some examples include: Trading social enterprise, Financial social enterprise, and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charity social enterprise.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Social Enterprise Business Plan?

Social Enterprise businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

What are the Steps To Start a Social Enterprise Business?

Starting a social enterprise business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Social Enterprise Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed social enterprise business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast. 

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your social enterprise business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your social enterprise business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Social Enterprise Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your social enterprise business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your social enterprise business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.

7. Acquire Necessary Social Enterprise Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your social enterprise business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your social enterprise business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

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Social Enterprise Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

social enterprise business plan template

Social Enterprise Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their social enterprise businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a social enterprise business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is a Social Enterprise Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your social enterprise business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for a Social Enteprise

If you’re looking to start a social enterprise business, or grow your existing social enterprise business, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your social enterprise business in order to improve your chances of success. Your social enterprise business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Social Enterprise Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a social enterprise business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for social enterprise businesses.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a social enterprise.

If you want to start a social enterprise business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your social enterprise business plan template:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of social enterprise business you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a social enterprise business that you would like to grow, or are you operating social enterprise businesses in multiple markets?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the social enterprise industry. Discuss the type of social enterprise business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of social enterprise business you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of social enterprise businesses:

  • Trading social enterprise : this type of social enterprise refers to cooperatives, collectives, and other organizations that are worker or employee-owned. This type of ownership structure allows a higher degree of economic resiliency compared to a traditional organization.
  • Financial social enterprise: this type of social enterprise includes credit unions, cooperative banks, and revolving loan funds, which are all membership-owned. In other words, the money deposited from a member is used to help other members who may need financial assistance.
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charity social enterprise: this type of social enterprise businesses are usually created to support a specific social, environmental, or political goal. The profits are used to further the social or environmental aims of the organization or to provide salaries for people who provide free services to specific groups of people.

In addition to explaining the type of social enterprise business you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, number of positive reviews, reaching X amount of clients served, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the social enterprise industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the social enterprise industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating. 

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your social enterprise business plan:

  • How big is the social enterprise industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your social enterprise business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your social enterprise business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments:non-profits, individuals, social causes, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of social enterprise business you operate. Clearly, social causes would respond to different marketing promotions than individuals needing financial assistance, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other social enterprise companies. 

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes social enterprise companies such as brand awareness companies, community organizations, government programs, etc.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other social enterprises with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be social enterprise businesses located very close to your location.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What clients or causes do they serve?
  • What type of social enterprise company are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide social enterprise services that your competitors don’t offer?
  • Will your social enterprise business help more people in need?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a social enterprise business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of social enterprise company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to social enterprise services, will you provide access to funding, marketing, counseling, and/or brand awareness, and any other services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your social enterprise company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your social enterprise business located near an office complex, a university, an urban setting, or a busy neighborhood, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your social enterprise marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Website and SEO marketing
  • Community events
  • Commercials
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your social enterprise business, including communicating with clients, marketing, accounting, accounts payable, fundraising, and searching for grant opportunities.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to obtain your XXth client, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your social enterprise business to a new location.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your social enterprise business’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company. 

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing social enterprises. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a social enterprise business or are connected to a wide network of professional organizations that frequently tend to donate to various causes.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you take on one new service at a time or multiple services ? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your social enterprise business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt. 

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a social enterprise business:

  • Cost of social enterprise services
  • Cost of overhead, marketing, and outreach
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your social enterprise outline of services, types of customer and/or cause you will be targeting, and the areas your social enterprise business will serve.   Summary Putting together a business plan for your social enterprise business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the social enterprise industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful social enterprise business.  

Social Enterprise Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my social enterprise business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Social Enterprise Business Plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of social enterprise business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a social enterprise business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of social enterprise businesses?

  OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Click here to hire someone to write a business plan for you from Growthink’s team.   Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

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Social Enterprise Business Plan

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

The ability to affect positive change and tackle social or environmental issues is one of the most satisfying parts of owning a social enterprise.

A strong sense of purpose and the desire to change the world motivates social entrepreneurs to start this business. If you are ready to change the world, then start it with proper planning.

Need help writing a business plan for your social enterprise business? You’re at the right place. Our social enterprise business plan template will help you get started.

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Free Business Plan Template

Download our free business plan template now and pave the way to success. Let’s turn your vision into an actionable strategy!

  • Fill in the blanks – Outline
  • Financial Tables

How to Write A Social Enterprise Business Plan?

Writing a social enterprise business plan is a crucial step toward the success of your business. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first section planned to offer an overview of the entire business plan. However, it is written after the entire business plan is ready and summarizes each section of your plan.

Here are a few key components to include in your executive summary:

Introduce your Business:

Start your executive summary by briefly introducing your business to your readers.

Market Opportunity:

Products and services:.

Highlight the social enterprise services or products you offer your clients. The USPs and differentiators you offer are always a plus.

Marketing & Sales Strategies:

Financial highlights:, call to action:.

Ensure your executive summary is clear, concise, easy to understand, and jargon-free.

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2. Business Overview

The business overview section of your business plan offers detailed information about your business. The details you add will depend on how important they are to your business. Yet, business name, location, business history, and future goals are some of the foundational elements you must consider adding to this section:

Business Description:

Describe your business in this section by providing all the basic information:

Describe what kind of social enterprise business you run and the name of it. You may specialize in one of the following social enterprise businesses:

  • Fairtrade organizations
  • Community development enterprises
  • Socially responsible manufacturing
  • Trading social enterprise
  • Education and skills development enterprises
  • Describe the legal structure of your social enterprise, whether it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or others.
  • Explain where your business is located and why you selected the place.

Mission Statement:

Business history:.

If you’re an established social enterprise, briefly describe your business history, like—when it was founded, how it evolved over time, etc.

Future Goals:

This section should provide a thorough understanding of your business, its history, and its future plans. Keep this section engaging, precise, and to the point.

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan should offer a thorough understanding of the industry with the target market, competitors, and growth opportunities. You should include the following components in this section.

Target market:

Start this section by describing your target market. Define your ideal customer and explain what types of services they prefer. Creating a buyer persona will help you easily define your target market to your readers.

Market size and growth potential:

Describe your market size and growth potential and whether you will target a niche or a much broader market.

Competitive Analysis:

Market trends:.

Analyze emerging trends in the industry, such as technology disruptions, changes in customer behavior or preferences, etc. Explain how your business will cope with all the trends.

Regulatory Environment:

Here are a few tips for writing the market analysis section of your social enterprise business plan:

  • Conduct market research, industry reports, and surveys to gather data.
  • Provide specific and detailed information whenever possible.
  • Illustrate your points with charts and graphs.
  • Write your business plan keeping your target audience in mind.

4. Products And Services

The product and services section should describe the specific services and products that will be offered to customers. To write this section should include the following:

Describe your services:

Mention the social enterprise products or services your business will offer. This list may include products or services like,

  • Eco-friendly household products
  • Sustainable fashion items
  • Job training
  • Healthcare services
  • Renewable energy products

Explain the benefits:

Showcase the innovative side:, additional services:.

In short, this section of your social enterprise plan must be informative, precise, and client-focused. By providing a clear and compelling description of your offerings, you can help potential investors and readers understand the value of your business.

5. Sales And Marketing Strategies

Writing the sales and marketing strategies section means a list of strategies you will use to attract and retain your clients. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing plan:

Unique Selling Proposition (USP):

Define your business’s USPs depending on the market you serve, the equipment you use, and the unique services you provide. Identifying USPs will help you plan your marketing strategies.

Pricing Strategy:

Marketing strategies:, sales strategies:, customer retention:.

Overall, this section of your social enterprise business plan should focus on customer acquisition and retention.

Have a specific, realistic, and data-driven approach while planning sales and marketing strategies for your social enterprise business, and be prepared to adapt or make strategic changes in your strategies based on feedback and results.

6. Operations Plan

The operations plan section of your business plan should outline the processes and procedures involved in your business operations, such as staffing requirements and operational processes. Here are a few components to add to your operations plan:

Staffing & Training:

Operational process:, equipment & machinery:.

Include the list of equipment and machinery required for social enterprise, such as manufacturing or production equipment, kitchen & cooking equipment, recycling or waste management, etc.

Adding these components to your operations plan will help you lay out your business operations, which will eventually help you manage your business effectively.

7. Management Team

The management team section provides an overview of your social enterprise business’s management team. This section should provide a detailed description of each manager’s experience and qualifications, as well as their responsibilities and roles.


Key managers:.

Introduce your management and key members of your team, and explain their roles and responsibilities.

Organizational structure:

Compensation plan:, advisors/consultants:.

Mentioning advisors or consultants in your business plans adds credibility to your business idea.

This section should describe the key personnel for your social enterprise services, highlighting how you have the perfect team to succeed.

8. Financial Plan

Your financial plan section should provide a summary of your business’s financial projections for the first few years. Here are some key elements to include in your financial plan:

Profit & loss statement:

Cash flow statement:, balance sheet:, break-even point:.

Determine and mention your business’s break-even point—the point at which your business costs and revenue will be equal.

Financing Needs:

Be realistic with your financial projections, and make sure you offer relevant information and evidence to support your estimates.

9. Appendix

The appendix section of your plan should include any additional information supporting your business plan’s main content, such as market research, legal documentation, financial statements, and other relevant information.

  • Add a table of contents for the appendix section to help readers easily find specific information or sections.
  • In addition to your financial statements, provide additional financial documents like tax returns, a list of assets within the business, credit history, and more. These statements must be the latest and offer financial projections for at least the first three or five years of business operations.
  • Provide data derived from market research, including stats about the industry, user demographics, and industry trends.
  • Include any legal documents such as permits, licenses, and contracts.
  • Include any additional documentation related to your business plan, such as product brochures, marketing materials, operational procedures, etc.

Use clear headings and labels for each section of the appendix so that readers can easily find the necessary information.

Remember, the appendix section of your social enterprise business plan should only include relevant and important information supporting your plan’s main content.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

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This sample social enterprise business plan will provide an idea for writing a successful social enterprise plan, including all the essential components of your business.

After this, if you still need clarification about writing an investment-ready business plan to impress your audience, download our social enterprise business plan pdf .

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Frequently asked questions, why do you need a social enterprise business plan.

A business plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful social enterprise business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

Overall, a well-written plan can help you make informed decisions, which can contribute to the long-term success of your social enterprise business.

How to get funding for your social enterprise business?

There are several ways to get funding for your social enterprise business, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

Small Business Administration (SBA) loan

Crowdfunding, angel investors.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available, check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

Where to find business plan writers for your social enterprise business?

There are many business plan writers available, but no one knows your business and ideas better than you, so we recommend you write your social enterprise business plan and outline your vision as you have in your mind. .

What is the easiest way to write your social enterprise business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any social enterprise business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software .

About the Author

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Grow Ensemble

Build a Better World, Together

50 Inspiring Examples of Social Entrepreneurship in Practice

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If you’re looking for a comprehensive introduction and explanation of social entrepreneurship, download our Social Entrepreneurship 101 Guide before you dive into our conversations with leaders in the space.

In early 2019, we launched The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast, where each week we release an episode featuring both established and emerging leaders in the social impact and socially responsible business space. 

We’ve covered a variety of topics with social entrepreneurs and innovators from a wide range of industries—tour companies, medtech, agencies, hospitality, and many, many more. 

Each conversation provides our Grow Ensemble team with endless discussion of new information and interesting viewpoints we glean from our guests. In this post (and the two-part podcast episode that goes along with it) we want to highlight (a few) of those lessons and insights.

Whether you want to hear from the CEOs of some of the world’s most successful sustainable businesses , small business leaders making massive waves in their industry, or Executive Directors from entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations influencing widespread positive change, the gang’s all here!

The  businesses you’ll see (or hear) here, aren’t just running a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program to check the boxes on “social good.” These businesses and business people have integrated positive social change and impact into their core of how they do business and how they show up in the world. 

Their business methods and philosophies are inspiring for the change-maker and entrepreneur alike, making it clear that not only are those two identities compatible, but they should be inextricably entwined. What a pleasure it’s been to sit down with so many generous and successful social entrepreneurs and innovators thus far! 

Excited for many more inspiring conversations and connections to come.

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Before we jump into a list of some of our favorite social entrepreneurs, it’s worth a brief mention of what social entrepreneurship is in the first place.

Social entrepreneurship, as a movement and term, is moving aggressively into the mainstream. And with this rise in popularity, more and more change agents are racing to the scene, as well as racing to define what social entrepreneurship is and who social entrepreneurs are. 

In brief, social entrepreneurs are business people who use their business to create social value. These do-gooders are not funneled into the public sector, but in fact make up an increasing portion of the private sector. In addition to earning a profit, and equally if not more importantly, their businesses respond to social issues or social needs they see in the world around them. 

When the status quo isn’t good enough, these change-makers take action and show us (and the world) that when businesses understand social value creation as central to their company’s purpose, that can lead to large-scale solutions to local and global problems.

Check out our Social Entrepreneurship 101 Guide for a more comprehensive definition of social entrepreneurship where you’ll get a more in-depth look at how a few different people are defining it, where social entrepreneurship came from, and what its role in society might be now and in the future. You can also take a loot at our list of social entrepreneurs books for more resources.

Clothing & Fashion

1. alex husted, founder & ceo of helpsy, on the consumer’s role in the sustainable future of fashion.

53 - Alex Husted

As informed by Alex and the Helpsy team, 95% of all clothing, shoes and other textiles can be given a second life. Sadly, over 85% just ends up in the trash! 

In our podcast recording, Alex dove deeper into this issue, reducing, reusing, and recycling textiles and clothing, and explained how the consumer can and should be making an impact on this massive waste issue. 

“The R’s come in order for a reason, right? So reduce is first because that’s the best thing you can do is just use less and then, reuse and recycle. Reuse is kind of where we do the playing, we’re trying to get as much reuse as possible, and then, recycle what can’t be reused.  So for folks like you [or your listeners] who I can’t tell to go to one of our bins and drop their old stuff in there, find someone close by that will take them. Any place you put it other than the garbage can is a whole lot better than putting it in the trash because if the life of those things gets stretched out in a number of ways that most people just don’t realize.  Everybody thinks that I don’t want it, so why would anybody else want it? I never want to see this pair of jeans again, I’ve worn them a hundred times. Why would anybody else want to wear this pair of jeans? It’s just not true. We’re trying to get that across.” 

Want to hear more from Alex on Helpy’s vision for a sustainable future of fashion? Listen here.

2. Manish Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO of Matr Boomie, on Empowering Communities Through Trade

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

Manish Gupta and the Matr Boomie team have been able to connect and empower over 20,000 artisans in 40 partner communities in India since their founding in 2006. 

It was Manish’s goal in starting Matr Boomie to use the power of trade to empower these Indian communities, provide them with resources and sustainable living , and hopefully, move the needle on lifting many of these communities out of chronic poverty. 

“I have seen firsthand how powerful trade is and anything that we want is available to us. That’s quite amazing. Things from around the world are at our fingertips and that’s an amazing system. But at the same time I’ve seen how if trade is not done responsibly, it can exploit communities.  We’ve all heard examples of challenges in Bangladesh and small communities where there is so much chemical pollution that is ruining their rivers and farming. So we all know how trade, if it’s irresponsible, can exploit communities. But I also believe that if trade is done responsibly, it can empower communities.  It truly has the potential to eradicate poverty in the world. And that’s what I want to do is use trade as a tool for positive change.

To hear more from Manish about Matr Boomie and their continued mission to empower Indian artisans, listen here.

3. Hannah Davis, Founder & President of BANGS Shoes, on Advice for the First Year Social Entrepreneur

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

Hannah Davis’ and the BANGS Shoes team sell shoes to invest in entrepreneurs all over the world. And this was the mission that Hannah set out with when starting BANGS shortly after starting college. 

A young entrepreneur, the start of her company seemed to revolve around all hustle, with little of the “success” she was seeking. However, with some significant personal development and key turning points, the growth of BANGS completely changed with BANGS now getting closer to a decade old, Hannah shared her advice for a social entrepreneur who might find themselves in their ‘year one.’ 

“I would say to relax a little bit. I think that’s a big thing to not overreact with emotion when things appear to not be going well, but just again, [think] what are your options and solve the problem.  And the other thing I would say…is don’t try to reinvent the wheel. It’s very, very rare that anyone has an extremely 100% unique idea. Look for somebody that’s done what you’re doing, but maybe a little bit better and possibly slightly differently and get their feedback and use technology to do the work for you because there’s so many apps and different resources and I just would encourage people to take advantage of those.  [I]t takes research and patience to understand what the possibilities are. But it is a really wonderful, beautiful time to be an entrepreneur.”

For more from Hannah on tips from her (and BANGS’) entrepreneurial journey, listen here.

4. Colleen Clines, CEO of the Anchal Project, on Building a Social Enterprise Success Story

Colleen & Maggie Clines Anchal Project

The Clines sisters, Maggie and Colleen, have built a thriving social enterprise in the Anchal Project. What started in 2011 as a nonprofit being built and run out of their parents’ basement, now employs over 150 artisans throughout India and the Clines’ hometown of Louisville, KY. 

In our episode with the sisters, we dove into their now nine-year trajectory from humble beginnings and hustle, to what is now a clear social enterprise success story. 

Colleen shared a little insight into how, even with few resources, the Clines sisters still managed to build the confidence to continue in the early years of Anchal: 

“A real turning point for us was one, the confidence we built through those first few years, but really the impact, it’s about taking action regardless of whatever you don’t have.  Once we had a few years, two years I’d say of artisans that we had been working with, seeing the little impact that we had in their daily life at the time, and then products to show for it. That’s when people started slowly getting on board.”

For more from Colleen & Maggie on the building of a social enterprise from the ground up, listen here.

5. Laura Wittig, Founder of Brightly, on the Importance of Closeness with Your Customer to Move Conscious Consumerism Forward

18 - Laura Wittig Brightly

Laura Wittig and the Brightly team have created a centralized platform for consumers to engage with ethical fashion, beauty, and homegoods brands. They’ve created a great alternative to Amazon for these products!

What started as a desire to facilitate the search for sustainable fashion brands, Laura had this idea for Brightly to be the one-stop-shop for the  conscious consumer  to find sustainable clothing brands and connect with others interested in the same. 

In our episode, Laura shared how her experiences in Amazon, Google, and Adobe as a product manager influenced the modern and open culture she’s driven to create with Brightly. 

“[I]n order to [project manage], to successfully do that, you have to make sure that you are adequately convincing people across the company as to what you’re doing. So you do a lot of pitching, you do a lot of negotiations across teams to make sure that you’ve got the resources that you need.  And for me it’s been trying to understand, as I’m growing this team is how do I make sure that I am always fostering a culture of openness, mindfulness, and then also a culture of being really, really connected to our customer.  Because that is what always sticks out in product development at least, is the closer you are to the customer and to the actual problem, the better off you’re going to be.” [14:17 – 15:30]

For more from Laura on the influences that brought her to creating an ethical shopping marketplace, listen here.

Food & Drink

6. allison gibson, from paintbox catering & bistro, on a b corporation business culture that puts its people first.

Allison Gibson PaintBox Bistro

I first connected with Allison at the 2018 B Corporation Champions Retreat in New Orleans.

From the moment we met, it was wildly clear Allison had a passion both for the work she did and the community she and the Paintbox team had cultivated in Regent Park, a historically disadvantaged neighborhood in Toronto. 

Allison was generous enough to join me for a recording to talk more about this culture at Paintbox, with a specific example of how that culture allowed her to lean on her team when she had to manage the challenging personal experience of a parent passing. 

“I’m super, super grateful for the team that I have and for the opportunity to work for and with a business that puts its people first. Had I been working anywhere else, I definitely would have been fired or laid off…Despite going through what I was going through with my mom, my personal needs did not change, my rent was still due the first of the month, all of the people that depended on me still depended on me…  I needed to really trust my team and give people more opportunities. So at that period when I was away, I would take certain servers from the restaurant and ask, “I know you don’t normally do bar inventory for example, but can you please do that while I’m gone?” And, they would rise to the occasion and do an amazing job.   So I really took away that if you challenge your team or give them opportunities and they rise to the occasion, great—keep giving them responsibilities, keep going to them to help problem solve. I also really, really valued that I work at a business that cared because it wasn’t just that they sent me cards, they were sending food to my house, people would just call me, come by. I would come home to flowers on my doorstep almost daily. It was insane.”

For more from Allison, and a business culture that creates community, click here to listen.

7. Yoni Medhin, CEO of Grain4Grain, on the Desire to “Give Back” with Business

Yoni Medhin Grain4Grain

Almost serendipitously, Yoni and I connected at a local farmer’s market here in San Antonio. Using his spent grain pancake mix, Yoni was flipping cakes for passers by, and I, a sucker for a good “one for one” model (and a free pancake), was drawn to hear more about their work. 

This struck a friendship and an ensuing podcast interview from the comfort of my San Antonio living room, where Yoni shared with me his motivations and values in starting Grain4Grain with his friend and business partner, Matt Metchly. 

“Really the taste came when I went overseas to Poland to teach English. And then in college, I went to Nicaragua to help build an orphan home for kids that suffer with addiction… But essentially that kind of feeling that I had, and purpose, of just giving somebody my all, somebody that I did not know, a stranger, and then them actually receiving something of value, because we always hear about all these companies that just give money and kind of wipe their hands and say, “Hey, we did our thing.”  But for us, it was…and for me, personally, this is something that’s just true to my heart—building company that intimately gives back . This just has flourished into now what is Grain4Grain.”

Want to hear more about Yoni & Grain4Grain’s “give back” model? Click here to listen.

8. Paul Hargreaves, CEO of Cotswold Fayre, on the Only Reason to be “in Business”

Paul Hargreaves Cotswold Fayre

Paul Hargreaves is a leader and staunch advocate within the certified B Corporation community in the UK and Europe. In March of 2019, Paul published his book,  Forces for Good: Creating a better world through purpose-driven businesses . 

In it his book and our interview he elaborated on his journey through purpose-driven business, from  starting a nonprofit organization  in inner-city London to now leading Cotswold Fayre, one of the founding B Corporations in the UK and leading specialty food and drink wholesale distributors in the region. 

Paul’s passion for using business as a force for good is starkly clear, and that shines through in his perspective shared throughout his book and our conversation. It seems to all boil down to one point for Paul:

“If people are happy and fulfilled working for me, then I’ve done my part to make the world a better place. It’s the whole reason I’m in business.”

For more from Paul on the culture of Cotswold Fayre and the power of business as a force for good, listen here.

9. Max Rivest, CEO & Co-Founder of Wize Monkey, on Why Passion Creates the Persistence to Succeed

Max Rivest Wize Monkey

Max Rivest is the CEO and Co-Founder of Wize Monkey, a Vancouver-based tea company that “resurrected” a coffee leaf tea, which helps stabilize the coffee industry for long-term socio-economic growth. 

His business plan that started as a master’s thesis in business school became a social enterprise business model. Max & Wize Monkey have created a need for year-round work for coffee farmers (and those who harvest the berries) who have previously been victims to seasonality. 

Max, a very passionate and creative entrepreneur, came on the podcast to elaborate on his pursuit of his own passions and his recommendations for others doing the same.

“If you’re working on something that you don’t care about, you’ll never be good at it because you just won’t have an innate instinct to just get better at it. And it’s just irrelevant to you if you keep forcing yourself to do that. No one ever wants to learn something by force. No one ever wants to do something by force. It doesn’t work like that.  Humans, especially, millennials now because we’re kind of in a different mindset than prior generations, we really have to find what we care about and try to break into that space and carve out your own niche within that space. Eventually, once you get good enough at it, you’re going to bring value to somebody and that’s when you start getting a paycheck.”

For more from Max, the Founding of Wize Monkey, and pursuing passion, listen here.

10. Paul Bain, Tea Captain (& CEO) of Justea, on the Impact Equity Can Make in Their Family Owned Tea Business

Paul Bain Justea

Paul and the JusTea team, based in Vancouver B.C., have partnered directly with Kenyan tea farmers to provide ethical, antioxidant-rich, and sustainably produced fair trade tea. 

What started with a 2012 trip to Africa with his Dad, has turned into over 200 jobs for women and young people in rural Kenya and the founding of the first-ever small scale, farmer-owned artisanal tea factory in the country. 

On the podcast, Paul shared much to the ‘story behind the tea,’ with a particularly striking story as to the impact this sense of (and literal) equity had on the community of Kenyan farmers. 

“We were doing these trainings on how to handcraft teas [in Kenya]. So at the very simple level of just using hand picked leaves, hand rolling, and then sun drying. And when we first tasted this tea we thought, “Hey, this is an amazing cup of tea.” It was really delicious and not like other teas that we’ve had from Kenya before.  When these farmers tasted it, they were really excited and we didn’t know why. We thought it was just because of the taste, but then they started just chatting in Swahili to each other and so I asked someone who was taking us around, “What are they saying?”  And he said, “They’re so excited because this is the first time they are tasting the tea that they grow.” So they’ve been growing this tea for decades, and they never actually tasted it…from the weighing station to the factory, to the broker to the auction, they never got a taste of the tea that they’d been bending their backs over, trying to pick every day for their whole life.  And so when they finally tasted, it was such a great sense of ownership and pride and really special moment for us and them.”

For more from JusTea’s Tea Captain, Paul, and the using trade versus aid to support developing countries, listen here.

11. Mark Cuddigan, CEO of Ella’s Kitchen, On Redefining What “Great” in Business Means

Mark Cuddigan - Ella's Kitchen

Mark Cuddigan is the CEO of Ella’s Kitchen, the number one baby food company in the United Kingdom. He’s also the Head of Sustainability for the Hain Celestial Group and a staunch advocate of using business as a force for good, as a member of the UK’s B Corporation Community. 

On the podcast Mark shared why it isn’t enough for a business to be “great,” and that “great” in business isn’t what it always was. 

“It’s not good enough now to say you’re a great company. It’s not acceptable. I don’t think a CEO can get away with saying, “I run a great company.” My thought would be, “Great, what you want? Do you want a medal? Do you want a pat on the back?” No. Your responsibility if you’re running a great company is to inspire other companies to follow your lead.  We’re in a whole world of trouble, literally, with global warming. We’re not going to get out of it by people being selfish or looking after themselves. We need to help other companies and we need to inspire other companies.”

For more from Mark on redefining business greatness and the importance of a social mission, listen here.

12. Logan Christopher, Founder of Lost Empire Herbs, On The Power of Seeking Impact Partners

Logan Christopher Lost Empire Herbs

Logan Christopher is the Founder of Lost Empire Herbs.

On our podcast recording, Logan shared with me the “why” behind his decision to enroll Lost Empire Herbs in the 1% for the Plant commitment and what it’s meant thus far. 

“Glad to have made the decision. When I came across 1% for the Planet, I thought, “That’s just an amazing thing, we should definitely do that.” It was kind of a fast decision… We’re proud to be part of that. We support a number of different charities through doing that. One of which that I’ve worked with personally, the Pachamama Alliance. I ended up traveling down to the Amazon rainforest with them. It’s been great to really dive into that world and understand the bigger picture of all these other things going on. The planet’s not going anywhere, but if things keep continuing the same direction with where we are going, we could end up going somewhere else. So being able to find the charities that can really make a strong impact in these different areas is important.”

For more from Logan & Lost Empire Herbs’ commitment to the planet, listen here.

Home, Health, & Lifestyle

13.  thomas querton, ceo & co-founder of atlasgo, on why you don’t need all the answers .

Thomas Querton - AtlasGO

Thomas Querton is a young, hungry entrepreneur from Belgium, now based in San Francisco, CA working with the AtlasGo team as they cultivate a community of ‘sweaty change-makers.’ 

In our recording, Thomas shared a lot of wisdom, despite his relatively recent development into an entrepreneur. He discussed the importance of having a clear focus, strategy, and taking time away to analyze successes/failures, as well as the truly critical component of reminding yourself you don’t need all the answers. 

“As a Founder, especially if you read Steve Jobs’ biography and you’re kind of naive and stupid like I am, you think that you need the answers to everything, right? You think you need to have the vision, right? People talk about this vision that you have to have. And that puts so much pressure on you.  [Often] you’re just a kid and you don’t know too much…but you really need to ask good questions. And then, with that ability to ask, it’s really simple, right?  Asking your users what they want, asking your clients what they want and really paying attention to what they say and continuously asking more questions. They have the answers. So it makes everything easier, right?”

For more from Thomas on learning as a young entrepreneur & AtlasGo’s mission to move and make change, listen here.

14.  Kate Jakubas, Founder of Meliora Cleaning Products, On Business as a Tool to Solve Social & Environmental Problems

Kate Jakubas Meliora

Kate Jakubas is an environmental engineer by trade. Growing up as one of the kids who had a “rock collection” instead of a lemonade stand (as she put it), she hadn’t considered herself at any point destined to be a business person. 

However, with her care for the environment and her engineering drive to solve problems, she became inspired to determine what potential toxic and environmentally harmful chemicals she could remove from her own personal consumption. This then turned her onto household products and led to the founding of Meliora Cleaning Products, which she runs with her husband, Mike. 

Kate came on the podcast to talk zero-waste production and shared how she found the connection to business as a tool for good from her engineering background.

“As engineers we solve problems. It’s basically everything that engineering is, you find something that’s broken and you fix it or you find something that you think you could make better and you make it better. And that’s ultimately what I like to do.  …As I got more work experience, I noticed that, it’s not just a hammer, it’s not just a piece of duct tape that you can use to solve a problem. You can actually use business itself as a tool. And that was really interesting to me. …I really liked the idea of using business as a tool and focusing it on a social problem or an environmental problem.”

For more from Kate & using her business as a tool to solve the environmental problem of wasteful and toxic household products, listen here.

15. Dave Spandorfer, CEO of Janji, On Using Running to Start a Business that Affects Positive Change

Dave Spandorfer - Janji

Dave Co-Founded Janji in 2012 when he was a college student with one of his teammates on the cross country team. Reflecting on the fulfillment each of these two had received from the sport of running, they wanted to start a business that kept them connected with the sport and shared the joy they’ve received from it with others. 

With the risks involved in starting a business, both Dave and his Co-Founder believed they might as well do something bigger to make it worth it: make an impact. They decided to take a chance on creating a business that seemed truest to them, and with the greatest integrity. 

Now one of the producers of the “Best Running Shorts of the Year,” as they were named by Runners World, Dave came on the show to share with me this journey with Janji and some of his thoughts early on as they were formulating the business’s ‘do good’ DNA.

“You see all these stats of the rates of failure for people who start businesses. If we are going to start something, we knew we had to do something that would affect positive change in the world. We wanted to find a way to use running as a power to make the world a better place because it had been this power to make our own lives better.”

For more from Dave on the origins of doing good through Janji, and their success and growth trajectory, listen here.

16. Jim Osgood, CEO & President of Klean Kanteen, On The Importance of Being Clear on Your Mission & North Star 

Jim Osgood - Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen has been a model of a “triple bottom line business” since the beginning, with their focus being on creating and offering solutions to eliminating single-use plastics. It was in 2011 when Jim Osgood joined the ‘Klean Team’ to help elevate that mission to the next level. 

In Jim’s time with the Klean Kanteen team, Klean Kanteen became a certified B Corporation in 2012, and they have continued to make massive contributions to  1% for the Planet , all the while tripling sales and dramatically increasing profits. 

Jim attributes this largely to Klean Kanteen’s focus on maturation as an organization with a key element of that growth being their commitment to strategic planning and getting clear on their “why.” 

Since our chat, Jim has embarked on a new business adventure, but as CEO of Klean Kanteen, he provided great insight into Klean Kanteen’s emphasis on mission and strategic planning.

“Being clear on your North Star, clear on your mission, clear on the fundamentals, they key priorities, [that] makes [strategic] decisions pretty easy when you’re true to your values, true to your ethos.  …When you are true to your values, true to your ethos, the big, gnarly decisions actually become easy. It’s the little knick-knacky things that we get wound up on every day that are pretty inconsequential.”

For more from Jim on Klean’s strategic planning and ambitions to rid the world of single-use plastic, listen here.

17. Peter Dering, Founder & CEO from Peak Design, on the Formula for Balancing Business Growth with Environmental & Social Sustainability

Peter Dering Peak Design

Peter Dering launched Peak Design nearly a decade ago through Kickstarter, with a product called the “ Capture Camera Clip .”It became the second most funded project on Kickstarter of all time. Since then, Peter and the Peak team have continued on with one major Kickstarter campaign per year, and in 2019 they were on pace to do $100M in sales when we spoke for the podcast. 

But, a conservationist at heart, Peter has made sustainable practices and environmental action a core to the way that Peak does business. And, Peter shared with me Peak’s “formula” for giving back and mitigating their environmental impact to combat climate change. 

“Here’s our formula. We’ve joined 1% for the Planet. 1% of sales is frankly a totally arbitrary amount of money, right? It doesn’t look at profitability, it doesn’t look at what type of business you’re in. It’s just this arbitrary line in the sand that says “1% of sales.” It happens to be for us a both reasonable and meaningful amount of money to give. So we start there and from within that budget we then figure out how to best affect positive change. …Then you’ve got to look at your supply chain and the most important things that you can do are reduce what you can, right? Use the least carbon-intensive protocols you can. It starts there, but you’ve got to understand full well that changing the entire worldwide supply chain is not going to happen over night. So while you absolutely should take vigorous efforts to reduce your carbon footprint, be very well aware that you’re going to have a lot left over. Secondly is to adopt social policies specifically in the factories where you’re doing the majority of your work that allow for happy and healthy and satisfied lives of the people who are doing that very, very hard work. That is another rung, right? Thirdly is don’t choose materials and processes that are chemically unsafe, like be as conscientious as you can. …And then the last step is offsetting that carbon footprint . And this is a whole other very big conversation, but we went through that journey of measuring our entire footprint all the way back to the extraction of raw materials to produce aluminum and refine it. All of that. We found our footprint was 20,000 tons in 2017 we also found that the average cost of a carbon offset at that time was three bucks a ton. So for one fifth of our 1% for the planet budget, we were able to offset the entirety of our carbon footprint. And that is both interesting and really begs the question of — if carbon offsets are that cheap right now, shouldn’t everybody be offsetting their entire carbon footprint as a baseline for responsibility?”

Learn more from Peter, Peak Design, and their commitment to creating high-quality products and environmental conservation.

18. Madeleine Shaw, Founder of Lunapads & Nestworks, On How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Counterpart 

Madeleine Shaw Nestworks

Madeleine Shaw is best known for founding the extremely successful mission-driven company , Lunapads (now Aisle), which specializes in providing reusable and sustainable solutions for periods. Madeleine has since been extremely active as a social entrepreneur and member of her Vancouver community, founding an event series for adolescent girls called G Day and now, a parent-friendly co-working space, called Nestworks. 

Madeleine was quick to admit that her success as a social entrepreneur would have not been remotely possible without her counterpart and business partner, Suzanne Siemens. 

Madeleine shared how other entrepreneurs might be able to find a “Suzanne” of their own.

“The way you find them is you tell them a great story about what you’re trying to create. Then they fall in love with it. You’re super nice to them, and you’re respectful of them, and you listen to them. You make them part of it, and you allow them to be part of it, and you build it together.”

Want to hear more from Madeleine on social entrepreneurial success and work life integration? Listen here.

19. Chris Chancey, CEO of Amplio Recruiting, On the Power of “Playing a Part” in a Compelling Story

Chris Chancey Amplio Recruiting

Chris Chancey is the CEO of Amplio Recruiting, a staffing agency that places refugees into jobs with U.S. companies. Chris started Amplio after he and his wife moved to a refugee community outside of Atlanta, GA and familiarized themselves with the stories of their new neighbors. 

Hoping to find a way to help, in a means that would be sustainable, Chris’ staffing agency, Amplio Recruiting was born. 

While the success of Amplio thus far could be surely attributed to providing an excellent solution to U.S. companies’ chronic problems (finding good people), Chris also believes that Amplio’s growth can be attributed to them being a part of such a compelling and engaging story given the issues that are facing us locally and globally. 

“As people learn more about what’s happening in the world around the refugee crisis, and especially as the U.S. and our government make certain policies that in the case right now are not very beneficial, not very in favor of the refugee community, there are companies that are now educated about who a refugee is, their legal status, and their ability to work. Companies call us, saying, ‘We would love to be a part of their story.”

Want to hear more from Chris and Amplio’s innovative solution to finding work for resettling refugees? Listen here.

20. Casey Ames, Founder of Harkla, On Why His Company Seeks Out to Make Mistakes

Casey Ames Harkla

Casey Ames, my brother, is the Founder of Harkla, an e-commerce company that manufactures and sells products that support families with children who are living with special needs. Three years since its founding, Harkla hit over $1M in revenue—achieving extremely rapid growth. 

In our episode, Casey dove deep into his and Harkla’s systemic approach to building their company, and how that approach influences their thoughts on making mistakes. 

“I always try and instill the mindset in my employees that it’s perfectly okay to make mistakes, but we can’t make the same mistake twice. It’s only an issue if we don’t learn from the mistake. And so we make mistakes all the time and it’s perfectly fine because they’re fail-safe.  We try and do pre-mortems before we do a big experiment of how could this go terribly. And then we try and cap our downsides.  But while we are systematic, we’re always trying to make mistakes and then go back and fix the system. So [we ask ourselves], “Where did this break down? What didn’t work?” It’s taking a scientific method approach to your company— coming up with a hypothesis, then let’s test it.”

For more from Casey and Harkla’s approach to building a company serving those living with special needs, listen here.

21. Henry Burgess-Marshall, Director of Marketing with Canniloq, On Where a Call to Influence Change Comes From

Henry Marshall Canniloq

Henry Burgess-Marshall and the Canniloq team manufacture high-end stash containers for the safe consumption and storage of cannabis. At the core of Canniloq’s operations is the social mission of righting what seems to be the moral wrongs grossly revealing themselves as marijuana is legalized throughout the United States. 

Alex Husted founded Helpsy in 2017 with a group of friends with the environmental mission of reducing textile waste by creating greater convenience to recycle  old clothes . Since its inception, Helpsy has placed 1,800 collection containers throughout the Northeast U.S., and in the last year, they collected over 25 million pounds of clothes.

This was the impetus for Canniloq’s “Unloq the Truth” campaign where they are dedicating themselves to raising awareness, support, and resources for those who have suffered or are suffering from antiquated drug laws, while a newly legal industry booms. 

In our podcast recording, we talk about the origins of Henry’s interest and care for this issue of drug incarcerations, and the clear discrepancy as this issue affects people of color disproportionately more than others. 

“The real catalyst [for me] was getting informed and educated. Some people have read the book, the new Jim Crow, maybe they’ve seen the Netflix documentary, 13th, about the 13th Amendment and the mass incarceration of people of color in this country. I was working at an addiction treatment center here in Seattle, and it was for youth boys ages 13 to 18.  It was really a deferment from youth jail. They go through the four month treatment and if they make it through there, they don’t have to serve any time for whatever drug charges they had. I saw a lot of people of color and not very many white people. I knew from growing up, that white people were using drugs at very similar, if not more often rates.  That really got me thinking, as I was learning all this information too. I was applying it to what I was seeing. And then I was not always the perfect standup citizen, and as I made mistakes, I kept getting let off the hook and given second chances in life while people who didn’t look like me weren’t.”

For more from Henry and consciousness in the cannabis industry, listen here.

22. Andy Freedman, Co-Founder of Miles4Migrants, On the Need & Approach for Smart People to Solve Massive Problems

Andy Freedman Miles4Migrants

Andy Freedman is the Co-Founder of Miles4Migrants, a nonprofit that takes donated airline miles and flies migrants and refugees wherever they need to go to be reunited with their families. 

What started as a one-time project with some airline miles enthusiasts has turned into the full-blown nonprofit that you see with Miles4Migrants. As of the end of 2019, the Miles4Migrants team has booked over 2,000 flights to reunite refugees with their families—with many more to come. 

Andy gave us some guidance on how others can go about finding “their problem to solve.”

“For me, it was supporting refugees and asylum seekers, but I think whatever the passion is, there is a need for smart people to be thinking about these massive problems.  My other advice is to not try to solve the entire problem, because you will fail miserably. There is a reason they [these problems] are massive.  And so find, a piece of the problem that you feel like you are best suited for or have an idea that you think could help and start there.”

Want to hear more from Andy on how Miles4Migrants is playing their part in refugee resettlement? Listen here.

23.  Andrew Glazier, CEO & President of Defy Ventures, on Why Social Justice Movements Must Start with Connection

Andrew Glazier Defy Ventures

Andrew Glazier and the Defy Ventures team offer entrepreneurship and job training programs for currently and formerly incarcerated men and women in seven states across the United States. They have enrolled over 5,000 EITs (entrepreneurs in training) in prison, and in their post-release program. 

This work has led to phenomenal results, with a one-year recidivism rate at 7.2% compared to the national average of 30% and their employment rate for post-graduates of their program is at 82%. 

In our podcast recording, Andrew talked about the success of Defy, and the successes (although with a long road ahead) of this social justice movement as a whole. 

“I believe that no social justice movement can be successful without person-to-person interaction and people having that human experience. And that’s why we work really hard at making this issue accessible to people, particularly in the business community, to come with us and see what we’re doing.  And more importantly, sit across from somebody who is incarcerated or formerly incarcerated and recognize that we’re not that different.  And when you’re able to make those connections and cut through that sort of fear and emotion, you can start to have a rational conversation about it to say, “look, if someone’s completed the Defy program and they’ve gone through seven months of work and 1200 pages of curriculum in 10 to 15 hours a week, and at the end of it they were able to stand up in front of volunteers and pitch their business.  That’s hard to do.  And maybe we should be thinking about what a fair chance looks like for somebody who has really shown the wherewithal to turn their life around and transform themselves.”

Listen to Andrew to learn how Defy Ventures is addressing the issue of mass incarceration and  reducing recidivism .

24. Lindsey McCoy, CEO of Plaine Products, on How Their ‘No Plastic’ Personal Care Business has Taken Off 

Lindsey McCoy Plaine Products

Visit Plaine Products’ home page and you’ll be greeted with the phrase, ‘Personal Care Without All The Plastic.’ Founded in 2017, by Lindsey McCoy and her sister Alison, Plaine Products offers shampoos, conditioners, and more in refillable containers to keep single-use plastic out of your bathroom. 

At the time of our initial podcast recording, Plaine Products were on pace to hit over $2M in sales and divert over 100,000 plastic bottles from landfills—in 2019 alone! 

Lindsey was gracious enough to join me for a recording and share with the Grow Ensemble listeners what she felt has contributed to their rapid growth. You can also check out our Plaine Products review for even more insight into the company.

“I think, one, is that we are legitimately solving a problem for some people, we were able to move into a space where providing a convenient alternative to single-use plastic with good quality products, there’s just not a lot of people doing it so I think that has helped. There’s not a lot of people searching for refillable shampoo, or at least there wasn’t when we got into it. But for sure, having something that sets us apart from our competitors has been helpful.  Having a mission has been helpful. I think people are much more willing to help us spread the word, tell their friends about us because we have a purpose and because we’re trying to do good.  We really have not had a lot of funds to put into marketing. We’ve had incredible word of mouth…”

Want to hear more from Lindsey and how Plaine Products has made the impact it has? Click here to listen.

25. Liza Moiseeva, CMO & Co-Founder of GlobeIn, on Focusing on Building a Community to Scale the Good Your Business Does

Liza Moiseeva Globein

Liza Moiseeva is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of GlobeIn, a social business that offers a monthly subscription “artisan” box that specializes in fair trade and ethical products to empower artisans in the developing world. 

Originally from Russia, collegiate swimming brought Liza to the United States. She’s continued to channel that competitive spirit for her appetite and ambition to use business not just make money but also solve significant social problems.

Liza is very generous and open with her insights and advice for other ethical brands and shared her expertise on our podcast urging new brands to focus on building a community around their niche. 

“If I were a new brand, and this is what I tell new brands right now, start building a community before you start selling.  That’s how all of the big successful brands’ stories are, like Glossier, it started as just a blog. You build a community, you build your expertise and then you sell it.  Maybe you don’t want to be an influencer yourself, But [in whatever way, on whatever platform] even before you have a product, start building a community of followers…So when you have a product you already have someone who will be interested in that.”

For more from Liza on launching a new ethical brand & scaling impact, listen here.

Our Social Entrepreneurship 101 Guide will provide great contextual background for the tips and inspiration our podcasts guests have provided. Check it out!

26. Tim Lara, Owner of Hawaiian Paddle Sports, on How Guides Can Turn Tourists into Advocates

Tim Lara Hawaiian Paddle Sports

Tim Lara is the Owner of Hawaiian Paddle Sports, an Eco-Tour certified B Corporation located on the island of Maui. Tim has a tremendous passion and respect for the natural life, and culture of Maui as well as an engine that just won’t stop. 

Tim listed the many activities he’s involved himself in, in Maui, in our podcast, as well, he shared what seems to be both an opportunity and duty for his guides as they take visitors on tours of the natural areas in Maui.  

“We have this captive audience, if you will, where we have them for a period of time. And so if we can use that time to help them have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the marine world and Hawaiian culture, then that’s really what we’re looking to do.  Jacques Rousseau said people protect what they love, right? And so if we can help people fall in love with these things, then they’re going to grow up and help protect them.”

To hear more from Tim on running an Eco-Tour company & advocating for the environment, listen here.

27. Adrianne Chandra-Huff, of Bodhi Surf + Yoga on the Need for Environmental Stewardship in the Tourism Industry

Adrianne Chandra Huff Bodhi Surf and Yoga

Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a  certified B Corporation  based in Uvita, Costa Rica. They teach their guests how to surf, practice yoga, and help them learn about their local area in Costa Rica. 

Adrianne, who I connected with at the B Corporation Champions Retreat in 2018, joined me for an episode where she shared the trajectory of Bodhi’s growth and evolution as a model for sustainable tourism , and her understanding of the obligation all businesses in the tourism industry have to mind and preserve the local region they benefit from…

“As a tourism company, you are benefiting from the very resources that draw people to you in the first place. So, that’s to say, if it were to become super polluted down here, people probably won’t come anymore.  So we have, I think, a moral and fiduciary imperative to take care of those very entities that we benefit from. But also, I just think it’s cool that we do, you know, because we live here and we’re benefiting from it more than just as individuals, we’re benefiting from it as a business.”

For more from Adrianne on the obligations of the tourism industry (and more) click here.

Professional Services

28. russ stoddard, founder of oliver russell, on success in social entrepreneurship & the sense of urgency to do good.

Russ Stoddard Oliver Russell

I first came across Russ through his book,  Rise Up: How to Build a Socially Conscious Business , where he introduces the concept of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship. In late 2018, I visited Russ at his office in Boise, Idaho for a podcast recording. Russ’ wisdom, generosity, and advocacy for the sustainable and social business model shined throughout our chat. 

Russ explained why a positive impact is more appropriate compensation than just a paycheck and shared how he manages his ever-growing portfolio of business and impact involvement.

“I guess some of the compensation I derive from the business is actually the meaning I’m able to create through it. Whether it’s with the folks who work here at Oliver Russell, whether it’s in the community with stakeholders, for me it’s just like earning a paycheck, making money is not enough for me. And making money is actually for me, kind of a consequence of doing good in the world, I wanted to create a business that would actually make our community a better place and do that intentionally so.” [As for managing priorities]: Constant challenge. Focus. Some days I’m good at it, other days I’m not, I kind of operate with the universe in mind. Oftentimes it creates opportunities that come up very opportunistically and I will jump into those not unlike creating Oliver Russell. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m the best at managing my own time, I feel a sense of urgency to accomplish a lot and hopefully be an initiator or co-collaborator where I can and leverage other people’s efforts in the world.  A co-founder of a benefit corporation here in town, it’s funny, a couple of weeks ago, we’re both in the bathroom together, standing at the urinals and he said, “Russ, how in the hell do you get everything done that you tackle?” I said, “Not very well…” So you know, I’m not regimented in many ways. I get up at four, I go to hard until nine some days I’m, as I said, I’m focused and other days I’m kind of scattered. I’ll take action over just thoughtful planning any day, that’s what I’m built for.”

Want to hear more from Russ on his social entrepreneurial success? Listen here.

29. Jessica Kellner, from Bark Media, on Building Community & Support Around Your Organization Through Authentic Storytelling


I briefly connected with Jessica at my first B Corporation Champions Retreat in New Orleans.

Jessica and other folks from leadership on the Bark Media team hosted a wonderfully insightful breakout session where they shared strategies for other B Corporations to get started telling their own stories and collaborate with others in the B Corp community to do so. Luckily for us, following this social impact conference Jessica joined me for an early episode of the podcast. 

Jessica dove deeper into these topics of storytelling and community-building and connecting with “your” people in our chat, 

“We really believe in authentic storytelling and we believe that the way to build a community, to build support around yourself as an organization or as a movement is to tell that authentic story. And frankly, that only works if you have an authentic, interesting story to tell. …there are a lot of people out there in the world that want to support work that is making a difference , that want to support companies that are running themselves in certain ways that want to support movements to improve our world. It’s telling your authentic story so that you can find the right people who are going to support you because they’re out there. It’s just that they don’t know about you right now.”

Want more on authentic storytelling and community building? Listen to Jessica’s episode here.

30. Chris Hutchinson, CEO of the Trebuchet Group, on the Rewards of Personal Development

Chris Hutchinson Trebuchet Group

My conversation with Chris was inspiring—a true example of a self-aware, reflective leader.  Chris and the Trebuchet Group are deeply committed to personal development and expanding the leadership capacities of individuals and organizations and that came through in our recording. 

We talked about leaders who create other leaders, the self-awareness that’s required to be a leader, and Chris’ experience writing his complete leadership “playbook,”  Ripple: A Field Manual for Leadership that Works .

Early on, Chris opened up about the rewards of focusing on developing yourself.

“Working on yourself first is the most rewarding work you’re going to do. Not only for you, but for everyone around you.”

Want to hear more about developing leadership skills & self-awareness? Listen here.

31. Dave Fortson, CEO of LOACOM, on the Importance of Passion & Persistence to “Stay in the Game”

David Fortson-LOACOM

Dave, his business partner Eric, and the entire LOA team, have a true passion for the work they do, and they have a good time doing it. LOACOM is an agency in Santa Barbara, CA with expertise in building movements. They support organizations who want to improve the world to develop better products, services, and fully express their mission. 

I’ve had the great privilege to partner with these folks, working to amplify the mission of example better businesses like All Good Products, and they’ve continued to impress with their passion, strong and flexible company culture, and commitment to serve their client partners. 

On our podcast, Dave revealed some of the core ethos of LOA as a company by sharing some reflections as to how LOA initially survived, and now thrives with a specific position in the social business market space. 

“Passion for what you do will pull you through the worst times. If you love it, it really doesn’t matter if the economy tanks or if you’re having a bad week or if you lose a client or your product sucks or whatever. You’ll just keep innovating and creating until you find the groove that’s best for you. But that is defined by passion.  Persistence, I think is in the same vein as passion. You’re going to run into a bunch of walls and you’ve got to go around, above, below or through…Sometimes you’ve got it and sometimes you don’t. Similarly, I think it’s related to both passion and persistence is that, a lot of times, it’s who’s left.  And if you really love what you’re doing, and you continue to believe in your work and you continue to innovate and evolve and be open to that, then oftentimes you’ll be the last person standing and you’ll see kind of market growth around what you do just because of that.”

Hear more about this passion, persistence, and how you can build a movement around your brand by clicking here.

32. Ryan Honeyman, Partner at the LIFT Economy, on Why Our Work Should Focus on the Most Marginalized to Make Systemic Change

Ryan Honeyman LIFT Economy

Ryan Honeyman is a Partner & Worker/Owner at the LIFT Economy, an impact consulting firm based in San Francisco. In April of 2019, in partnership with Dr. Tiffany Jana (from TMI Consulting), Ryan released  The B Corp Handbook, Second Edition: How You Can Use Business as a Force for Good . 

Ryan joined me on the podcast to chat about the new inclusions in the book and this new determined focus members of the B Corporation and social innovation and social business communities should take towards focusing their work on the most marginalized people, if we want to actually effect systemic change. 

“If you center the most marginalized people in your work, then everyone benefits, because if you are always thinking about how does this affect the most marginalized, then inherently you’ll be considering all the folks above the most marginalized.  And so we’ve been putting this question to ourselves, if we focused on benefiting low income communities of color with our work, what would that change about how we do consulting, how we think about business, and I think that’s a question that’s going to be spreading more in our space. If we’re not centering folks who are part of the most marginalized communities in the U.S. and globally, then we’re always going to be doing something that’s not quite as effective at meeting those people’s needs or everyone’s needs.  I think with B Corps, that’s one conversation we’re trying to bring in as how can we really center these groups in all of our decision making and bringing them into the decision making process. Otherwise, we’re just going to be guessing what people might want and the impacts will be marginal as compared to what could be.”

For more from Ryan on the writing of this second handbook and what businesses can do to make the greatest impact, listen here.

33. Emily Lonigro, President & Founder of LimeRed, on Doubling Down on Community to Succeed with Purpose-Driven Business

Emily Lonigro - LimeRed

Emily Longiro Founded LimeRed with a dedication to use her skills and expertise in design for good. And, now 15 plus years in business, she and the LimeRed team have done just that. Serving not just nonprofits, but social enterprises, and mission-driven businesses of all kinds, they strive to use design to make tangible change. 

But, of course, that’s not easy for anybody. Business and impact pose an inherent greater challenge than just business, right? For Emily, it’s been community that’s allowed her to be a part of “writing this new rule book” of purpose-driven business since 2004.  

“A few years ago when I was at a retreat for  conscious business  leaders, that was something that came up a couple of times[, the added stress of integrating purpose in your company]. We were not talking about our own mental health and the stress we put on ourselves to do this thing that is so nebulous without rules, and we are all here writing this rule book together.  …And the only thing that I’ve ever figured out so far to do, is to really double down into my community and get really involved and to make really, really true and honest relationships with other business owners…So yeah, it’s a different experience and I think that we’re all trying to figure out how to do it together and well, and I don’t think we’ve quite figured that out yet. But. I am very optimistic.”

To hear more from Emily on community and using design to make an impact, listen here.

34. Tim Frick, CEO of Mightybytes, on How Digital Agencies Can Think About Making Positive Change

Tim Frick Myghty Bytes

Tim Frick and his Certified B Corporation Digital Agency, Mightybytes, are exemplars of what it means to be an “agency of change” (a term Tim coined in some of his writing featured on the B the Change blog). 

From tools to measure the environmental impact of your website, to their list of better brand and nonprofit clients, Mightybytes has built an exceptional portfolio of examples where they’ve influenced positive change. While this may look easy, it’s not—and we were grateful when Tim joined me on the show to talk about this “balancing act” of finding what is the good you can do, at a sustainable clip. 

“We learned through the  B Impact Assessment  what we could do with it and got super excited. For example, you’re asked a lot of questions about your supply chain as an agency. Your supply chain [as a digital agency] is pretty much pixels and people so you have to really rethink what that means. …right around that same time we were learning that the internet had a larger environmental impact than the airline industry. And that was the thing that we built for a living. And so because of that, it was really eye opening to say, “Okay, all websites require electricity to run and the majority of our electricity in the United States doesn’t come from renewable sources. So what can we do at least for one step to find green hosting?” And so we started experimenting with a bunch of different green hosting providers. Turns out that wasn’t easy. And that ended up taking like four or five years of us going through a bunch of different hosting providers and seeing if we could find the right fit.  …every one of these things is a little bit of a balancing act of doing what you can do with your resources and trying to spot as many potential red flags as possible while also staying focused on providing good work. You’re only as good as your last project in our world. So making sure that your last project was as awesome as it could be is always a challenge.”

For more from Tim on Mightybytes’ and their agenda for change, listen here.

35. Sarah Woolsey, Founder of The Impact Guild, on the Importance of Small Celebrations on Your Way to Manifesting a Vision

Sarah Woolsey-The Impact Guild

Very grateful to have connected with Sarah Woolsey and The Impact Guild community in my current city, San Antonio. A co-working space I’ve periodically called my office, The Impact Guild is a beautiful community space that Sarah founded with the intent to orient around ethical and sustainable community development. 

In our podcast recording, we talk about the origin story for Sarah’s community space, from the inception of the idea to opening the doors, and everything in between. While they’ve made significant progress, in our chat Sarah reminded us of the importance of celebrating small “wins” on your way to manifesting your much larger vision. 

“I can tend to look at that 10-year vision and see the gaps of everything that hasn’t happened yet and live way more in that space, which puts this internal pressure to go, go, go.  And that is one wonderful takeaway I think of doing this thing in community, and in the community that we’re building, is other people pointing out and saying, “Hold on, pause, celebrate this thing, this goal, this outcome, this thing that was a part of the vision that has been achieved. And yeah, there’s more and that’s going to be great and wonderful but slow down for a second and sit in the space to look back and be reflective. And that is a practice that I am learning right now and it is really fun to see.”

For more from Sarah and her experience building a community of change-makers in San Antonio, listen here.

36. Amy Looper, Co-Founder & COO of One Seventeen Media, On Endurance & Passion In The Social Entrepreneurial Journey


Amy Looper, and her partner Beth Carls, run One Seventeen Media, a Certified B Corporation in Austin, TX, deep in the world of Artificial Intelligence Medical Technologies. 

Together, they’ve created reThinkIt!—an app that helps kids process difficult emotions in real time. reThinkIt! Has been responsible for preventing a school shooting, boosting school attendance, saving schools precious budgetary resources. An experienced entrepreneur, Amy reflected on virtues and successful characteristics of her impact focused entrepreneurial career. 

“We know there’s a lot of opportunity that we want to take advantage of and I think it’s been a slow burn. And, this is just part of the entrepreneurial journey, right? With all of us that are about solving an impact problem, whether it’s social, emotional, or environmental, it is going to take a little bit longer burn rate to some extent. But it is really true if this is your passion , if you find something that you’re passionate about and you can lock on it and stay with it, because there’s certainly been days when we’ve wanted to question, “What are we doing?” Somebody the other day said, hey gosh, this is really cool. You guys are getting ready to take off. And I was like, “Yeah, it’s been a 19-year overnight success!”

Want to hear more from Amy on the “Social Entrepreneurial Journey?” Listen here.

37. Michèle Soregaroli, Founder & CEO of Transformation Catalyst, on How Your Values & Vision Differentiate You in the Marketplace

Michèle Soregaroli Transformation Catalyst

Michèle Soregaroli is a business coach with a specialty in differentiation, based in Vancouver B.C., helping entrepreneurs and business founders discover greater value, purpose, and mission in their work in efforts to separate them from their competition in the marketplace. 

In our podcast episode, we covered Michèle’s origins into differentiation coaching, the importance of learning as an entrepreneur through trial and error, and business as a force for good. Michèle shared some of her secrets normally reserved from clients, on the keys to differentiation in the marketplace: 

“The key to differentiation was not just about making noise and being loud and getting noticed, but the opportunity for a business to differentiate is the same way a human being would differentiate in terms of what’s important to that business and why it’s in business and what its mission is and what its vision of a better future would be.”

Want to hear more from Michèle on differentiation and the importance of values in business? Listen here.

38. Chris Sparks, Founder of The Forcing Function, on Pushing Forward Every Single Day

Chris Sparks Forcing Function

Chris Founded the Forcing Function with the objective to empower the next generation of entrepreneur. Through coaching, resources, and retreats, Chris helps entrepreneurs to prioritize, become more effective in their day to day, and achieve significant professional and personal goals. 

In our episode, Chris shared what he believed to be the most important message for anyone listening in.

“If I could give anyone a message from this, find some way to make some amount of small progress every single day… Understand what is important. Make sure that it happens regularly. Protect it. Have a way to track if what you are doing is leading to the results you want. If it’s not, change course.”

For more from Chris on Productivity & the Next Generation of Entrepreneurship, listen here.

39. Claire Booth, Founder & CEO of Lux Insights, on Values Being a “Guiding Light”

Claire Booth & Hanson Lok Lux Insights

Claire Booth is the Founder & CEO of Lux Insights, a market research agency based in Vancouver, B.C., and the author of  Achiever Fever Cure  a book about the balance between seeking healthy achievement and achievement that fills an emotional void. 

In our podcast recording, both Claire and the President of Lux Insights, Hanson Lok, joined to talk about the culture they’ve created which led to Lux receiving the 2019 Best Employer Award from British Columbia’s Small Business Awards. Claire drew the focus to their values.

“Our values were decided upon based on who we are as people. When we hire people who align with our values, they align with us, which is what allows us to deepen those relationships. We also find clients who align with those values tend to be the deepest relationships and the long-standing accounts we have been able to hold on to over the years.”

For more from Claire and Hanson on Creating an “Award-Winning” Culture, listen here.

40. Tara-Nicholle Nelson, CEO of Soul Tour, on Giving Yourself Permission to Not Do Something

Tara-Nicholle Nelson Soul Tour

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is the Founder & CEO of SoulTour, a company that focuses on spiritual growth for entrepreneurs, specifically high-achieving women running purpose-driven organizations. 

Tara considers herself to be “deeply obedient to the callings of her soul,” and encourages her clients to be the same. Our podcast recording was enlightening, and the clarity with which Tara operates and understands herself is compelling. 

In speaking to the true clarity we all have already within us, Tara calls it an issue of permission…

“People are less confused about what they don’t want to do than they give themselves permission to be.”

To hear more from Tara and the importance of paying attention to your own callings, listen here.

41. Julia Chung, CEO of Admin Slayer, On Managing Your Emotional Health for the Sake of Team Success

Julia Chung Admin Slayer

Julia Chung is the CEO of two companies (yes, TWO companies), Spring Financial Planning and Admin Slayer. In asking Julia how she happens to manage all that, she’ll humbly tell you: relationships, relationships, relationships. 

And in our podcast recording together, Julia dove into just that, how critical the key relationships and partnerships have been in her success both personally and professionally, and how she goes about managing both herself and those relationships in a healthy manner. 

“Every piece of baggage that you have not only gets carried into your personal relationships, but it also comes to work with you. If you can’t figure out what’s going on in here, you will be absolutely pointless and useless to your team.”

For more from Julia on the relationship between your emotional health and the success of your team, listen here.

42 . Giselle Waters, Content Strategist with Mad Fish Digital, On Why Work Can’t Exist Without Purpose

Giselle Waters-Mad Fish Digital

Giselle Waters is an expert content strategist with Mad Fish Digital, a Certified B Corporation marketing agency in Portland, OR. Giselle championed the B Corporation certification for Mad Fish and has been passionate about using her skills and energy for impact before she joined their team. 

On the podcast, Giselle and I talked about business and work with purpose and how it’s been an essential piece to how she exerts herself professionally:

“I felt like I need to love what I do and love where I work every day and I need to love it for more reasons than just, you know, a paycheck or even the people I’m working with. Like I need to feel like what I do has meaning and impact beyond myself.”

For more from Giselle on B Corporation Certification & Building a Content Strategy, listen here.

43. Becci Gould, Associate Director at Kin&Co, On Why All Employers Need to Take Well-Being Seriously

Becci Gould-Kin & Co

Becci Gould and the Kin&Co team are award-winning culture and behavior change consultants located in the United Kingdom. A Certified B Corporation as well, these folks have become thought leaders and sit on the cutting edge for reinvigorating organizations with a thriving company culture and purpose. 

From shorter workweeks to Wednesday “ofternoons,” the Kin&Co team and Becci are running experiments on everything that can positively affect employees’ well-being and thus their performance on the job. 

In our episode Becci talks about this topic with urgency, stressing all employers need to give their staff’s well-being focus. 

“I think every employer should be doing something to maintain the wellbeing, the work-life balance, and prevent burnout of its staff. But it depends on what works for that organization.  I’ll also say, as I said before, you don’t need to go and roll this out across the board from day one, test a few different initiatives, see which ones work and then roll them out from there.  You don’t have to commit fully to everything straight away, but have a go and even if you’re just testing a few of these things, the message that sends to your employees is really strong because it shows that you really do care about this aspect of their lives and want to improve things for them.”

For more from Becci Gould on creating a thriving company culture, listen here.

44. Amanda Munday, Founder of The Workaround, On the Parenting & Professional Life Crossover

Amanda Munday - The Workaround

Amanda Munday is the Founder of The Workaround, a parent-friendly co-working space located in Toronto. In our podcast recording, Amanda dove deep into the dual identities of the professional and the parent, challenging us to think that just because you are one doesn’t mean you can’t as well be the other. 

With her co-working space, Amanda is challenging our assumptions about what possibilities exist, what possibilities must exist, for the professional parents. 

“What I challenge with it is we can run dual identities at the same time. And that’s at the core of what the workaround is doing is saying we are parents and we are professionals and we have other parts of ourselves outside of if you identify as mom or dad, we can have that life before. It’s not over because we’ve moved into parenting.”

Want to hear more from Amanda on evolving to a more parent-friendly workforce? Listen here.

45. Bernie Geiss, Founder of Cove Continuity Advisors, on a Philosophical Alignment that Led Him to the B Corp Movement


Bernie Geiss is the Founder of Cove Continuity Advisors, an award-winning financial services firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Before getting into financial services, Bernie spent multiple years traveling the world and learning, practicing meditation and yoga. It was those deeply impactful experiences that Bernie brought with him into his approach to starting his own business. With enough time, it seemed fitting that Bernie played an extremely active role in B.C.’s passing of the benefit company legislation. 

In our episode, Bernie talked about how, with the help of a business coach (Michele Soregaroli, another podcast guest!), he came to align his philosophy with his business. 

“We went through a very extensive deep search about what our commitments are, what our purpose is, and we came to the purpose of, that we want to lead a fundamental shift from unconscious entrepreneurial-ism to enlightened continuity.  And that was a way for us to integrate the philosophical side of what we all deeply believe in with what was going on in the world. That there’s this unconscious entrepreneurial-ism, which is this desire to earn profits and to save money and to consolidate and concentrate wealth in the hands of a small group of people to the exclusion of many people who are working for those people.  It was through Michelle and that evolution of rebranding that we discovered the B Corp movement.”

For more from Bernie and the transition from traditional business to a social enterprise, listen here.

46. Doug Lessing, Founder of Phin, On Using Unstructured Time to Create Flow

Doug Lessing - {jom

Doug Lessing is the Founder of Phin, a soon-to-be Certified B Corporation startup that connects great companies with great people and causes. Doug opted to take the social entrepreneurial leap, leaving a company he “grew up in” to build a startup with social good at its core. 

The impetus for this startup, Phin, came from something of a sabbatical that Doug took as a moment away from his previous job to create space and time to think and process what his next career move might be. 

It’s this prioritizing of space that Doug has kept with him now in his day-to-day of building this social impact-focused business in Phin.

“That unstructured time actually became the one thing that I hold onto now, as the one thing that I really learned, and that’s that when we give ourselves some space, the magic really begins to happen.  The creativity begins to flow, energy begins to flow, the ideas begin to flow.”

For more from Doug & his approach to social entrepreneurship, listen here.

47. Austin Buchan, CEO of College Forward, Listening & Responding to Feedback to Scale Impact in the Nonprofit Sector

Austin Buchan - College Forward

College Forward is a nonprofit in Austin, Texas that helps what would be first-generation college students get to and through college. Joining CEO (and my brother-in-law) Austin Buchan in the College Forward office for a recording, Austin reflected on how College Forward has been able to develop the powerful programming for students that they have (through what would now be called Human-Centered Design). 

He also got into how College Forward is taking that intimate understanding of what their students need to begin to look at how they continue to serve students, but at a much larger scale. 

“Going back to just mission and money as the two things that we’re thinking about within the overarching lens of scale, there are 1.7 million students in college in Texas alone, and we’ve got to think differently if we want to see these numbers [low-income student access] move. And you know, sadly I think this is kind of tragic in some ways, but the outcomes that we care about, looking at the number of low-income students getting into college, persisting and graduating, that number has actually gone down since we started this work even in our local community. Those inequity gaps are growing every single year. And even though for the fortunate students who kind of stumble into our program by chance, we’re leveling the playing field… How we take what’s worked for 13,000 students and scale it to 130,000 over the next year, 1.3 million the year after…those are the questions that we need to be designing programs and business models around to make sure that we can do it at scale. And when I say scale, I really mean scale. Not how do we open up another office in San Antonio to serve 200 students, but how do we really design a model that could reach hundreds of thousands if not millions now over the next 10 years?”

For more on Scaling Impact and Earned Revenue Models in the Nonprofit space, listen here.

48. James Christie, Founder of SustainableUX, Footprints in the Digital World & Taking Passion Projects to Full Blown Enterprises

James Christie - SustainableUX

James Christie Founded Sustainable UX in 2016 with the hopes that this online conference “for UX, front-end, and product people who want to make a positive impact—on climate change, social equality, and inclusion” would attract 40 visitors. It brought 400 to attendance. 

Since then, Christie knew this topic had concern and traction, and alongside his full-time work as a Director of UX with Mad*Pow, Christie and his SustainableUX team have continued the conference drawing over 1,000 attendees over the last two years. 

James joined me on the podcast to talk both digital footprints and challenges of taking this passion project and turning it into something much greater.

“All the challenges are basically personal. This is a spare-time project and it’s a passion project…there are a lot of competing priorities. [One strategy is] to de-distractify [my] life, to focus on what matters, to prioritize beyond the noise. I’m getting way more focus and able to unblock myself there. It’s definitely a work in progress.”

Want to hear more about the footprint of the internet and how James created this online event around sustainable design that attracts thousands? Listen here.

49. Yasmine Mustafa, CEO of ROAR for Good, on the Power of Personal Stories to Forge Persistence

Yasmine Mustafa - ROAR for Good

Yasmine Mustafa is a wildly talented and inspirational social entrepreneur. Being forced to flee Kuwait with her family to the U.S. during the Gulf War, Yasmine’s determination has led her through challenge after challenge. Whether it was completing Temple’s social entrepreneurship program while working two part-time jobs, or now pivoting her company ROAR last year, when faced with product/market fit challenges. 

Yasmine joined us on the podcast to share what has kept her going with this company, and ROAR specifically.

“At every event, no matter what, someone would approach us with their personal story. That’s what ultimately drives you…I would actually go and re-read testimonial emails as motivation any time I got down. It’s the impact of the people she’s working with that keeps Yasmine going, she also makes sure to focus on that which drives her, and that which doesn’t:  “I take stock of things that drain me and things that energize and do more of the latter. Whatever’s draining, I try to eliminate that.”  [32:04 – 32:15]

For more from Yasmine on her determination & development as a social entrepreneur, you can listen here.

50.  Frederick Hutson, CEO of Pigeonly, On the Talent of the Formerly Incarcerated That’s Largely Overlooked


Frederick Hutson is the CEO of Pigeonly, which is a service that makes it easier and more affordable for families to connect with their incarcerated loved ones. The idea for Pigeonly was a highly personal one for Frederick. At the age of 23, Frederick was sentenced to five years in federal prison for the illegal distribution of marijuana. 

Once settled into his prison sentence, he obsessed about imagining a better life for himself when he was out. Always an entrepreneur, Frederick thought about how he could leverage this personal experience of incarceration and his intimate understanding of the prison system to provide a useful and valuable service. It was in 2012 while living in a halfway house when the idea for Pigeonly was born. 

On the show, Frederick shared his thoughts on this segment of the population that’s highly talented but being largely overlooked.

“We have returning citizens in every single department of our company. I’m not saying just put people in customer service. I’m not saying we just put people in our fulfillment department that handles all of our shipping and printing.  We have returning citizens that are in engineering, we have them in marketing, we have fulfillment, we have them in customer service, we have them in operations.  What I’ve found and what I know to be true just from my own experience, is that there’s an incredible amount of talent in the U.S. prison system by virtue of the criminal justice system here being largely out of control. And I look at the number of people being incarcerated and the laws that aren’t really designed around rehabilitation…there’s a lot of talent that is being released.”

Want to hear more from Frederick and the evolution of Pigeonly and his entrepreneurial ambitions? Listen here.


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social entrepreneurship business plan examples

Co-Founder & CEO, Grow Ensemble

Cory is the host of The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast , where he’s interviewed well over 150 leaders in the space of better business, social impact, and innovation. Prior to Grow Ensemble, Cory was the CEO of a digital marketing agency, a position he earned at the age of 22. There, he became an expert on all things digital marketing & SEO.

Cory Co-Founded Grow Ensemble (with his partner, Annie Bright) as a vehicle to raise awareness of and inspire action around some of the world’s biggest problems and problem solvers.

He blogs, podcasts, and publishes video on all things leaving the world a better, more just, equitable, and habitable place for all.

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July 22, 2021 at 10:50 am

I wonder if you could look into social entrepreneurs who such as Hubie Jones of the Boston area or John Crawford of New Haven Ct. area? These men are designing new ways to change the lives of impoverished inner city children by reinventing schools and housing that do no rely on the local government of federal grants.

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July 22, 2021 at 11:51 am

Thanks for the comment.

I’ll make a note for our team to take a look at those folks you mentioned.

Timely, as a Boston move is in our semi-near future!

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October 28, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Wow! This is an amazing list of social entrepreneurs! I’m so inspired by all of them!

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November 3, 2022 at 5:36 am

So glad you found the article helpful and our list inspiring!

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Social Entrepreneurship 101: Business Models and Examples To Inspire You

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A graphic that says "what is social entrepreneurship?" at the top left. Underneath is three icons that represent the values of social company; a mission or calling, hands holding in the shape of a heart, and a stack of coins.

The word “commerce” leaves a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, since it often gets lumped in with the ills of capitalism. But commerce is a natural feature of humanity, neither good nor bad.

When channeled through  social entrepreneurship , commerce can become a force of good to build a business that helps create a better world.

Social entrepreneurship takes many forms, but if you’re interested in starting a business with a cause, here’s where to start.

What is social entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurship is the organization of a business around specific social and environmental causes, and can include both nonprofit organizations and charities and for-profit social enterprises.

Social entrepreneurs differ from traditional entrepreneurs in that their main drive is to make a difference in the world or in their communities. They often have personal experience with the causes they support, which inspires their business’s mission.

While traditional businesses might measure success in terms of market share or year-over-year revenue growth, social entrepreneurs are more likely to focus on metrics like jobs created, trees planted, or donations made to a charitable arm that solves the problem they’ve invested in.

What’s a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business designed around a core altruistic mission, which in turn influences how it’s managed, from product development to branding, from supply chain management to financial planning.

Instead of a single bottom line focused on earnings, many social enterprises measure success based on a  triple bottom line :

  • People.  The human impact of your business, and your ability to affect social change, improve lives, and develop a community in a sustainable way.
  • Planet.  Your environmental impact—how you contribute to a sustainable planet or reduce the carbon footprint (CO2 emissions) of your business and customers.
  • Profit.  Like traditional businesses, social enterprises need to make money in order to sustain themselves, pay workers, and grow as an enterprise.

Unlike a traditional business where profit is reinvested into the business for the sake of its own growth, a social enterprise allocates a large portion of its profits to create positive change in the world.

Social enterprises are not necessarily the same as companies with corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. “Doing good” isn’t a value-add for social enterprises. It’s the core value prop and the mission they organize themselves around.

While social enterprises can be for profit or not for profit, there are also hybrid organizations that combine elements of both models, such as  Merit Goodness , a clothing brand that helps fund scholarships for underprivileged youth in Detroit, Michigan.

ALT: A screenshot of Merit Goodness’ website showing its value prop: high-quality clothing that helps kids get to college.

The traditional retail business model also has a registered charity arm called  Give Merit , which runs a cohort-based program to nurture leadership and career skills in ambitious youth.

ALT: A screenshot of the Give Merit website, Merit Goodness’ charity arm, that says Aspire, Believe, Contribute.

Just as there are near-infinite expressions of entrepreneurship, there are countless forms social entrepreneurship can take. You could start a nonprofit that provides funding for underserved entrepreneurs. Or you could launch a for-profit business that manufactures eco-friendly products.

No matter what type of social entrepreneurship you choose, you’ll need to be passionate about your cause and have a strong commitment to making a difference. With hard work and dedication, you can make a real impact on the world.

The  different models you can adopt as a social entrepreneur  include:

  • Nonprofit.  A tax-exempt, non-business entity that invests excess funds back into the mission.
  • Co-operative.  A business organized by and for its members. Credit unions and community grocery stores are some examples of co-ops.
  • Social purpose business.  These businesses start on the foundation of addressing a social mission.
  • Social firm.  Social firms employ those in the community who need jobs, such as at-risk youth.
  • Socially responsible business .  These companies support social missions as a part of their day-to-day business operations.
  • For-profit.  Perhaps the vaguest category, these businesses are profit-first but donate funds, raise awareness, or otherwise support causes.

Arguably the most common social enterprise model is donating a portion of profits to a charity, but that’s not all there is to building an effective social enterprise.

“It’s not just saying, ‘Hey, we have a social mission as an organization, and X percent of our sales goes to nonprofit X, Y, and Z.’ I think it needs to be deeper and more authentic than that.” Stephan Jacob, co-founder of Cotopaxi
  • Creating jobs within the communities they care about, such as hiring local ex-convicts or ethically outsourcing production to communities in need of fair work and career development opportunities
  • Reducing their carbon footprint by planting trees or offsetting carbon emissions throughout their entire supply chain and educating customers about the topic
  • Hosting workshops and people-development initiatives to teach skills and empower others to build better lives for themselves and their communities
  • Advocating for diversity and inclusion on behalf of underrepresented groups and becoming an engine of inspiration, such as  GoldieBlox  does by making content and toys that expose young girls to the joys of engineering

A screenshot of GoldieBlox’s website, with a tagline that says Seeing is Believing.

Do social entrepreneurs make money?

Social entrepreneurs do indeed make money.

While most social entrepreneurs start out with modest goals to prioritize their mission first, many are eventually able to achieve financial success similar to traditional entrepreneurs. Even founders of nonprofit organizations can eventually pay themselves a salary with certain limitations.

The pursuit of profit and purpose are not mutually exclusive in business, but for the social entrepreneur, it’s important that the former never cannibalizes the latter.

Shiza Shahid is one example of a financially successful  serial  social entrepreneur who co-founded the  Malala Fund , which works toward a world where girls can have greater access to education in communities where they might be excluded from it, as well as  Our Place , an ethical kitchenware company.

A screenshot of the Malala Fund website that says Malala Fund is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead.

The benefits of building a social enterprise

A social enterprise’s mission is a competitive advantage that can help it stand out in a crowded market—if they can communicate their motivation and impact.

Building a social enterprise comes with its own unique benefits for the entrepreneur that are worth getting excited about if you plan to start your own:

  • Alignment between your business’s mission and your personal one , fuelling you to show up every day and push through any obstacles
  • Mission-based branding  with a cause at its core that makes consumers feel good about every purchase they make.
  • Access to more partnership   opportunities  as an altruistic business, such as other nonprofit organizations, influencers, and for-profit companies to leverage existing audiences and established reputations to create a presence in their market.
  • More press coverage —publications and journalists love to cover social innovation and change-makers and share the stories of their impact to help social enterprises evangelize their efforts.
  • “In kind” resources, sponsorships, and vendor discounts  are often available to social enterprises, especially nonprofit charities, which may also be considered for tax-exempt status. NPOs can also access great rates and special features on the  Shopify for nonprofits  plan.
  • Certifications   and   support   systems.  Social enterprises can be eligible for grants, “impact investing” opportunities that focus on job creation and sustainability, and special certifications such as a  B Corporation status  that make it easier to establish credibility, commit to transparency, and  attract customers , employees, volunteers, and investors.

Transparency and sustainable impact are essential for a successful social enterprise. And these things are easier to achieve if your cause is close to your heart with impact you can measure.

David Meritt, founder of  Give Merit , shares annual reports about the performance of the students who enroll in the FATE program for nurturing leadership skills among the youth in his community.

Give Merit’s impact report that shows how GPA, Absent Days, SAT score, and detentions have improved for kids in the program.

Depending on your mission, you can directly implement your plans for change as a social entrepreneur and expand your contributions as you grow. But if you choose to partner with nonprofit organizations (NPOs) to help execute the “social” part of your social enterprise (as many do), be sure to do your homework before you reach out. Ask questions like:

  • What am I ultimately giving back to?
  • How will my contributions actually be used and what are the organization’s operating costs?
  • How does the organization measure its success?
  • Is its impact sustainable or will it only end up doing more harm in the long run?
  • Does this organization have an ethical history as a nonprofit?

This is all part of your founding story—the tale of why you started your business—and will likely come up again and again in  your elevator pitch ,  About page , PR efforts, and more. So refine your story with your mission and your action plan for creating change in mind and let it become your edge.

Social entrepreneurship examples that balance purpose and profit

Let’s take a closer look at some for-profit social enterprise examples and their missions that prove creating positive change and being profitable as a business don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

A screenshot of Cotopaxi’s website that shows its outerwear products.

Cotopaxi is a social enterprise that sells durable gear for the outdoor explorer, while also contributing to initiatives to fight global poverty. Sustainability is built into its product development and carbon neutral supply chain, which has earned the business its B Corp status as a social enterprise.

Mission:  “Create sustainably designed outdoor gear that fuels both adventure and global change, by dedicating a percentage of our revenues to nonprofits working to improve the human condition.”

Impact : Aided 1,255,490 people directly through poverty alleviation programs, provided 67,000 malaria treatments benefitting 403,416 families, and more in 2021.

A screenshot of the Blueland website showcasing its cleaning products with the tagline “Going eco has never been easier.”

Blueland is a social enterprise that sells plastic-free alternatives to home essentials, such as cleaning sprays and paper towels. Sustainability is at the heart of its mission and is woven into its content marketing that educates readers about sustainability and single-use plastics.

Mission : “Make it easy to be  eco  with innovative products in reusable packaging that are convenient, effective and affordable.”

Impact : Its products helped eliminate one billion single-use plastic bottles from landfills and oceans since 2019.

A screenshot of LSTN’s website showing its wooden headphones.

LSTN Sound Co. sells premium wooden headphones and provides access to hearing aids to people in need through the  Starkey Hearing Foundation . It reflects the founders’ love for music and wanting to share that experience with others, especially those with hearing loss who cannot afford hearing aids.

Mission:  “After seeing a viral video of someone hearing her own voice for the first time, co-founders Bridget Hilton and Joe Huff decided to focus their efforts on creating change through the power of sound & music, and make this incredible moment a reality for others around the globe.”

Impact : The company has helped provide hearing aids to more than 50,000 people who would not have had access to them otherwise.

Finding a product to sell and a mission to lead

The mission might come first for social entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t eclipse the importance of choosing the right  things to make and sell . When all is said and done, a for-profit social enterprise needs to make money to survive, just like any other business idea.

You could start a social enterprise selling physical or digital products, even services.

The one caveat is your  product development process  must align with your mission. The common trait among successful social enterprises is a “product-cause fit” that aligns their mission with what they sell.

Start by asking yourself:

  • What social or environmental problems do you see in the world that you’re passionate about solving?  The world is no doubt filled with many problems, but pick one you truly care about.
  • Is there a way you can uplift your local community?  You don’t need to change the world. You can change someone’s world in your own city.
  • Is there a specific market you can sell to authentically?  Authenticity is at the heart of social enterprises and that goes beyond the cause and applies to what you sell to customers too.
  • Can you draw any connections between the causes and product categories you’re passionate about?  You’ll likely be marketing the product first to your customer, not the cause, but it helps if customers can draw a clear line between the two.

From there, you can work backward to  find specific product ideas  you can develop.

Social enterprise ideas you can start today

If you’re looking for specific directions to go in for your own social enterprise, here are some creative ideas you can explore.

1. Upcycle a product that could easily be repurposed or repaired

One way to build sustainability into your business is taking an existing product that often goes to waste unnecessarily and upcycle it. You can intake what others may consider “garbage” and use that material in the production of your own products, such as food or clothing that would’ve gone to waste.

Learn more :  The Charitable Bike Brand That’s on Track to 7-Figure Sales

2. Find an existing product responsible for a lot of waste and create a sustainable alternative

Think about the things we use daily that create the most waste—paper towels, cotton swabs, plastic straws, coffee pods—and consider how you might not just eliminate that waste with your own product, but potentially save consumers money too.

Learn more:  18 Sustainable Stores to Inspire Your Business

3. Start a homemade goods business, and hire and train people from your community who have trouble securing employment

Homemade goods, as the name implies, whether food, accessories, or skin care products, are something you can easily teach others how to produce. That can allow you to hire people who have difficulty securing employment for whatever reason and help them develop new skills in the process.

Learn more :  10 Crafts to Make and Sell

Create positive change through social entrepreneurship

Our connected world has brought about a new era of awareness, where we can find problems to solve and lives to improve across the street or across the world if we choose.

People from all over are deciding to make change in whatever way they can, whether it’s by being more conscious of what they buy as consumers or building an engine for social and environmental good by becoming entrepreneurs.

With a single website, you can reach a world of consumers who want to help you make a difference. Shopify is a flexible platform to build your site, share your mission, and generate sales to  fund that mission . It’s all about figuring out your cause and  what to sell to support it

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The Impact Investor | ESG Investing Blog

The Impact Investor | ESG Investing Blog

Investing for financial return is only part of the equation.

What is Social Entrepreneurship? Definition & Examples

Updated on November 8, 2023

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Entrepreneurs are business start-up owners. These people start their businesses for different reasons, but most focus on profit-making. Well, organizations exist to make a profit from goods and services, that’s not news. However, what you use your revenues for, determines the type of entrepreneur you become.

Businesses are now increasingly supporting environmental, social, and governance causes to meet their ESG goals or appeal to socially conscious customers. It is not just enough to have products and services that meet market expectations. Consumers have switched to checking why your business exists, and what your goals are. Is it to make only a profit, or does it have other purposes?

Do you care about getting rich or benefitting your stakeholders and the world around you? With impact investing , investors look for brands that channel their money to environmental and social causes. Businesses that positively impact society fall under social enterprises, which brings us to social entrepreneurship.

But what is social entrepreneurship, and who are social entrepreneurs? This article answers this question and gives examples of social entrepreneurship to follow. Read on for details!

Table of Contents

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Types of social entrepreneurs, community social entrepreneur, non-profit social entrepreneur, transformational social entrepreneur, global social entrepreneur, benefits of social entrepreneurship, high productivity, brand development, free marketing, more partnership opportunities, easy access to support system, social entrepreneurship examples, lstn sound co, love your melon, warby parker, ben & jerry’s, ladakhi women’s travel company, jaipur rugs, uncommon goods, united by blue, how to start a social entrepreneurship, understanding the problem and solution, evaluating social entrepreneurship ideas, creating a business plan, funding method, who is a famous social entrepreneur, how do social entrepreneurs make a profit, what makes a social entrepreneur successful, how do social enterprises get funding.

A group of girls gathering and laughing, social entrepreneurship

The basic definition of social entrepreneurship involves individuals or groups starting a business that uses its profit to find a solution to social problems. It can address insecurity, food shortage, lack of education, water shortage, homelessness, and more!

A social entrepreneur is a person that starts a business to make a positive impact on society while earning a living from it. Such people belong to the do-good group. They are motivated to start a business to bring a positive change to society instead of earning more profit and getting richer.

Social entrepreneurs explore business opportunities with a social mission. It can solve a problem in the immediate community, society, or world.

A social enterprise is often confused with non-profit organizations, but the main difference is that social businesses are for-profit, but they use that profit to achieve corporate social responsibility .

See Related: Best Impact Investing Software for Measurement & Metrics

Passion Led Us Here Quote on side block

There is no one-definition-fits-it-all when starting a business to bring a positive change to society.

Social entrepreneurs differ from traditional businesspersons in strategies, goals, and business models. That means social entrepreneurs or enterprises can be grouped according to their social mission. These include the following:

A community social entrepreneur creates a positive impact in a small geographical area. It helps a particular community to solve some of the problems it faces from the revenues generated.

Social entrepreneurs in this category are mainly individuals or small organizations. They address issues such as fighting unemployment, promoting health, raising awareness of social issues, providing financial aid, combating racism, and so on. They might even build community centers, markets, schools, reservoirs, and any number of things that can enrich a community.

Community social entrepreneurs work directly with the members of the community. That may slow down the decision-making process, but it’s worth it. You make an immediately visible change to your community, rather you’ll be laying the foundations for a better world for future generations.

A good example of a community social entrepreneur is Love Your Melon. The company donates hats to children battling cancer and donates funds to aid treatment.

Unlike a traditional business that focuses primarily on its gains, non-profit social enterprises prioritize social well-being. The business model is about reinvesting any generated revenue back to make more positive impacts on society.

Non-profit social enterprises are usually big companies and large organizations that use their market power in the developing world. They have more funds from an established business and are more likely to meet their social goals.

Non-profit social entrepreneurs can any of the following:

  • Public schools
  • Public charities
  • Public clinics and hospitals
  • Political organizations
  • Legal aid societies
  • Volunteer services organizations
  • Labor unions
  • Professional associations
  • Research institutes
  • Some governmental agencies

Transformational social enterprises are up-scaled non-profit enterprises. They focus on bringing societal changes by solving problems that other businesses and governments have failed to achieve. An entrepreneur of this scale has a network of business enterprises that focus on the social benefits.

Lush is a good example of a transformational social entrepreneur. The company has donated millions of dollars and supported thousands of grassroots projects that contribute to positive impact .

A transformational social enterprise can get integrated into the government. Another advantage that such social entrepreneurs enjoy includes the easy acquisition of top talents. However, they still have to operate within set rules and regulations.

As the name suggests, global social entrepreneurs set up businesses for global change. They usually run multi-billion business enterprises that fund the social mission. Usually, they work with other social entrepreneurs to meet their goals of changing the world for the better.

Warby Parker is a good example to mention. Through its Buy a Pair Give a Pair program, the company has donated eyeglasses to the less unfortunate worldwide.

See Related: What is Social Arbitrage Investing?

Entrance of Betty's Burgers & Concrete

Social enterprises do not focus primarily on scaling the business world. A chunk of the profit is used to make social changes or change the world. That might seem disadvantageous compared with traditional businesses that typically reinvest all their revenues .

However, social entrepreneurship still has many benefits. First of all, it exists for societal well-being. It solves problems most commonly faced in the community, society, and world. But besides that, there are other benefits. These include the following:

It is becoming challenging to motivate employees to work hard only to generate profits for the shareholders. But if there is a common social cause as a goal, everyone will feel motivated to do their best to achieve the goals.

Social entrepreneurship involves solving social issues such as racism, sexism, poverty, human rights violation, abortion rights, etc. These social responsibilities motivate people to work hard and make their efforts count.

The concept of conscious consumerism has made it nearly impossible to sell products based on their features without tagging their social benefits. That gives social enterprises an edge over traditional businesses in impact banding.

Consumers are more inclined to purchase products from brands that bring positive change to society.

When your business focuses on social value rather than generating profits for shareholders, the brand can speak for itself.

It also becomes easy to win the hearts of influencers and gain followings by telling heart-captivating stories about your social mission!

Other like-minded social entrepreneurs subscribe to your social entrepreneurship idea. These people will be more willing to partner with you or invest in your entrepreneurial venture.   

It is easier for a social enterprise to access grants, certifications, and other support systems. Other organizations exist to offer such services to social entrepreneurs in support of their social ventures. These include governments and global organizations.

See Related: Best Green Credit Cards to Support the Environment

There are many successful social entrepreneurs worldwide. Their mission to create positive change and develop the world has paid off. Get your inspiration as an aspiring social entrepreneur to keep you going. It also proves that businesses can still succeed even if scaling up is not the primary goal.

The following are the best social entrepreneurship examples:

TOMS Homepage

TOMS started with a campaign of giving one pair of shoes to a needed child for every pair of shoes sold. Today, the company has given about 100 million shoes to the needy. But that is not all. Its existence has come with many appreciable social benefits. That’s what makes it one of the world’s leading social enterprises.

TOMS is not the first company to implement social entrepreneurship ideas. However, it is one of the top brands that popularized social entrepreneurship in the past decade. This company was founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 during his trip to Argentina.

TOMS launched the TOMS Eyewear program in 2011, aimed at helping people in need of media treatment and eyeglasses. In 2014, TOMS also rolled a TOMS Roasting Co. The only objective of this coffee-roasting sub-company is to bring sustainable water systems to people who lack access to clean water.

Currently, TOMS donates one dollar for every three dollars gained in profit to help solve social problems. That ensures safe birth, bullying prevention, and other causes.

LSTN Sound Co Homepage

LSTN Sound was founded in 2012 as the world’s first inspirational electronics company. The electronic company manufactures earphones to make listening to music and video conferencing fun.

LSTN co-founders Bridget Hilton and Joe Huff were motivated by a viral video on YouTube. The video featured a deaf person who was thrilled to hear her own voice for the first time. This inspiration made them believe that everyone deserves to get a hearing aid and decided to help through their foundation.

LSTN has used the revenue generated from the sales of headphones, earbuds, and speakers to help more than 50,000 people around the world. The company also partners with the non-profit Starkey Hearing Foundation to help achieve its social mission.

Access to hearing aid donated by LSTN Sound has improved the livelihood of thousands of people and created a ripple effect among millions worldwide. The company has made that possible from the proceeds of the purchase of its products. When you buy headphones, earbuds, or speakers, you help another person access a hearing aid.

See Related: Best Energy Management Software Programs

Love Your Melon Homepage

Love Your Melon was founded by an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Zachary and Brian started it in 2012 as a business that brings positive social impact . The duo wanted to help children battling cancer, and they started it as simple as putting a hat on every victim.

The first goal of Love Your Melon was to give 45,000 hats to children battling cancer in America. But after achieving that, the company set a new target of donating $1 million to pediatric cancer research and supporting children and families. Love Your Melon has given over $9.4 million and 230,000 hats.

The company also gives 50% of the profit made from the sales of any of its products to non-profit organizations around the world that help fight pediatric cancer.

Love Your Melon has managed to create a global network and create therapeutic experiences. It also funds charitable initiatives that help children and families battling cancer.

Warby Parker Homepage

Warby Parker is a company that deals with eyeglasses, sunglasses, contacts, and eyewear accessories. The company came into the social entrepreneurship limelight when it launched the Buy a Pair Give a Pair program. Since its launch, Warby Parker has donated over 10 million pairs of glasses to those who could not afford them.

Warby Parker’s mission is to solve the vision impairment problem that affects most people worldwide. This issue severely affects over 2 billion people, some of whom cannot work. Warby Parker works closely with partners to reach out to the needy and help solve that problem.

Warby Parker has worked with VissionSpring as a partner in its first social well-being mission. It supported the social entrepreneurship model to reach low-income men and women internationally.

In 2015, Warby Parker rolled out a Pupils Project. It partnered with many organizations and local agencies to provide free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses to school-going children. This step helped many students get the eyewear they needed to continue their studies flawlessly and start achieving their dreams.

There is no doubt that Warby Parker is one of the social entrepreneurship examples that change lives for the better. Its cause for positive social impact is evident.

See Related: What is the Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility?

FIGS Homepage

FIGS is a direct-to-direct consumer healthcare apparel and lifestyle brand that empowers and serves healthcare professionals. The company is committed to making every individual in the health sector look, feel, and give the best performance. It does that by creating comfortable apparel, but that’s not all FIGS contributes…

FIGS may not contribute much to social vision, but its efforts are also worth appreciation. Apart from ensuring that health workers feel their best and always give their best at work, it also donates its products.

As of 2019, FIGS had distributed over half a million free apparel to health professionals worldwide. These donations have reached 35 different countries.

See Related: What is a Serial Entrepreneur? Definition & Examples To Know

Lush Homepage

Lush is a cosmetic retailer founded in 1995. It sells soaps, shampoos, creams, shower gels, lotions, and other products. It features on this list as one of the social entrepreneurship examples because it supports social causes and vision.

Lush advocates for people, animals, and the planet. It does that through ethically-sourced ingredients and grant programs that fund grassroots organizations around the world. There are different donation strategies that this company applies. The most common are Charity Pot Grants,  product donations, and ethical campaigns.

Through the Charity Pot Grant, Lush has donated $53 million and supported over 2,900 grassroots projects that contribute to a positive impact, by funding long-term systemic change.

Since 2018, Lush has also donated $15 million worth of its products to over 2,000 organizations. Some of this goes to essential service providers to ensure the well-being of people. Lush also conducts ethical campaigns that support voices advocating for human rights, animal protection, and environmental sustainability.

See Related: How to Save Money & Go Green; a Step-by-Step Guide

Ben & Jerry’s Homepage

Ben & Jerry’s is a globally beloved ice cream brand also dedicated to using a percentage of proceeds to achieve a social vision.

Its mission statement clearly states how it is committed to the prosperity of everyone who’s connected to its business and beyond. It aims to ensure the well-being of its suppliers, employees, farmers, customers, franchises, and neighbors.

Ben & Jerry’s has always been committed to many positive causes covering social, environmental, and governance.

The company ensures its workers get a livable salary. Their products may be priced higher than other ice creams, but much of the profit is used on wages – as well as sourcing the finest ingredients.

Ben & Jerry’s supports different movements that ensure the well-being of different groups of people. Both Ben and Jerry have been advocates of voting rights, environmentally-friendly farming , racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, climate justice, and campaign finance reform, just to mention a few.

Good Eggs Homepage

Good Eggs sets itself apart in the grocery delivery business because it supports social values. The company believes that good food is the best way to bring change, and it has proved it from time to time. It does so by keeping high standards in the industry and sourcing from local producers.

Firstly, Good Eggs supports the community by sourcing 70% of food from local farmers. Secondly, every employee has a stake in the business. That not only empowers them but also promotes transparency and healthy business practices. Workers earn wages and proceeds to meet their daily needs and fund their personal development.

Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company Homepage

Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company is the first female-owned and operated travel company in Ladakh, India. It was created to change the narrative in the Indian travel industry that was dominated by men. The company was founded in 2009 by Thinlas Chorol.

Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company has successfully organized educational and ecological friendly tours, homestays, and treks for travelers and tourists. It has also inspired local women to show their ability to serve as trekkers and travel guides in their hometowns.   

The company has also enhanced economic growth by encouraging women to find work in Ladakh and be independent. Generally, we can say Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company fights for gender equality and to raise awareness.

Jaipur Rugs Homepage

Jaipur Rugs is primarily focused on producing high-quality handmade and socially sustainable floor coverings. The company was established in 1978, coming from a humble beginning to perfect the art of carpet weaving.

Jaipur Rugs found a way to connect local artisans to the global market. And thus far, the company has produced some of the best, thoughtfully crafted, unique, handmade rugs. It has continuously connected gifted rug makers to the customers, expanding their livelihood by promoting local industry.

Jaipur Rugs has supported health, literacy , vocational, financial, and entrepreneurial ventures and inspired many in the community. The company promotes the spirit of hard work and self-sustenance.

See Related: How to Build a Socially Responsible IRA Portfolio

SEKEM Homepage

SEKEM is an Egyptian company founded in 1977. The social entrepreneurship ideas behind its establishment were to give back to society. It was the vision of Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, who started by digging the first well in the desert.   

SEKEM is committed to sustainable development for a better future . It believes in a world where every individual can get to full potential and live together in social forms and all economic activities conducted sustainably.

Presently, the company has managed to produce medical herbs and health products to meet the needs of its customers and ensure the well-being of everyone. SEKEM has also improved the environment through dynamic farms.

SEKEM has built educational centers for children to emphasize creativity and analytical thought. It also instituted a health center to ensure a holistic approach to medication.

Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods was founded in 1999 by Dave Bolotsky. It’s an online marketplace that connects artisans and their creations with shoppers who want unique products. Most people use this platform when shopping for unique gifts.

The company is responsible for sourcing products from around the world. Some are also crafted in-house by a team of designers and artists. Every product created has a unique purpose and solves a problem. They are made from unusual, reclaimed, or recycled material as a strategy for environmental sustainability.

Uncommon Goods has a Better to Give program through a partnership with non-profit organizations. The company states that it donates $1 for every purchase to a partner of your choice. Since rolling out the program in 2001, the company has donated more than $2 million to fund causes with positive social and environmental impact .

Some of the organizations that Uncommon Goods have supported include American Forests, The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and International Rescue Committee.

See Related: Top Social Sustainability Examples to Know

GoldieBlox Homepage

GoldieBlox has a mission to reach out to girls at a young age and introduce them to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The company has adopted ways of empowering girls to look at STEM differently and inspiring them to be innovators of the future.

The main goal of GoldieBlox is to build self-confidence and inspire young girls by creating fun ways of learning STEM. It sells toys that teach and conducts a creative campaign to celebrate female STEM role models.

GoldieBlox has reached millions of girls worldwide in the past decade alone by reshaping children’s toys and media.

United by Blue

United by Blue is an outdoor apparel store committed to making the world a better place for humanity and other living organisms.

The company starts this journey to achieving its ESG goals by using materials that leave little or no footprint. It sources sustainable materials to ensure generation prosperity.

One of the main contributions of United by Blue is removing trash from waterways and oceans equivalent to the product purchased. So far, the company has managed to clear more than 3 million pounds of trash!

Social entrepreneurship requires a passion for solving a social problem. If you have that drive, you can be a social entrepreneur. So, how do you get started and take off for success? Here are the general steps to follow:

The first step in starting social entrepreneurship is understanding the problem you intend to face. You may need to read, travel, and interview people to know how it affects them and what they are asking for.

This first step takes time, and you should dedicate everything to it. Without understanding the social issue you want to address, you can easily lose track along the way.

Once you understand the social problem you want to solve, it becomes easy to evaluate all social entrepreneurship ideas. You can only give your social enterprise a good start if it is built on a strong foundation backed up with passion.

For example, you can start a restaurant that donates food to locals who go hungry. Another good example is setting up a barbershop where every haircut pays for the next haircut for people who cannot afford it.

A social enterprise also requires a business plan. It is what should guide you on your visions and goals, both short-term and long-term. You can also use a business plan to measure your success.

For example, your social entrepreneurship goal can be building education centers. You can target five such structures to be erected by the end of the fifth year in business. A business plan helps capture such details and much more.

The next step is to look for funds to kickstart your social entrepreneurship. This is where many aspiring traditional and social entrepreneurs reach a roadblock in their journey. Raising funds to start a business is a challenging task that requires an appropriate strategy.     

Non-profit business model

Some reliable places to look for funding to achieve your dream include Kickstarter, Fundable, and GoFundMe . You will have to create a good mission statement that resonates with the community members to get support.

Crowdfunding sites mainly help you raise funds, but you can get additional benefits. You are also raising awareness and developing your brand in the process. Also, use the feedback you get from there to adjust your social entrepreneur plan.

But to succeed in getting funds, you should prove how you bring a solution to the problem and sustainability around your business.

Hybrid business model

A hybrid business model involves partnering with other non-profit organizations to help you reach your goals. They can be the direct beneficiaries or connect you to your target group.

Raising funds to start such social entrepreneurship is not as straightforward as the previous business model. So, do your research and know everything you need or expect from you as a social entrepreneur. Enter into a partnership business only after understanding all the policies and how it operates.

For-profit business model

You should note that your social business can only make a sustainable social impact if it’s profitable. Design your business to ethically generate profit to help you reach your social goals.

There are many social entrepreneurs worldwide at different scales, but the most famous one is Bill Drayton. He is the father of social entrepreneurship and the founder and CEO of Ashoka, a non-profit organization founded about 4 decades ago. Other notable social entrepreneurs include Jazzmine Raine, Shiza Shahid, Manish Gupta, Blake Mycoskie, Scott Harrison, and Alex Husted, to name a few.

A social enterprise can sell products and services, just like typical businesses. To generate a profit from the sales, social entrepreneurs maintain the quality of their products and services and trade on-demand commodities. The proceeds from the sales are not all given back to society. A portion is reinvested into the business and set aside as the profit.

Social entrepreneurs have a business idea and the process to actualize it. They do their homework about market trends, demands, and all other relevant information required for the success of their businesses. But most importantly, social entrepreneurs can be successful if they have a passion for helping society.

Social enterprises can get funds from grants, investments, or both. A social entrepreneur can also use savings to start a business, just like typical businesses.

Related Resources

  • Best Socially Responsible Investing Jobs
  • Reasons Why Companies Have a Social Responsibility to Investors
  • How to Create a Social Impact Measurement Framework
  • These Are 10 Best Social Enterprise Funding Options for Entrepreneurs

Avatar of The Impact Investor

Kyle Kroeger, esteemed Purdue University alum and accomplished finance professional, brings a decade of invaluable experience from diverse finance roles in both small and large firms. An astute investor himself, Kyle adeptly navigates the spheres of corporate and client-side finance, always guiding with a principal investor’s sharp acumen.

Hailing from a lineage of industrious Midwestern entrepreneurs and creatives, his business instincts are deeply ingrained. This background fuels his entrepreneurial spirit and underpins his commitment to responsible investment. As the Founder and Owner of The Impact Investor, Kyle fervently advocates for increased awareness of ethically invested funds, empowering individuals to make judicious investment decisions.

Striving to marry financial prudence with positive societal impact, Kyle imparts practical strategies for saving and investing, underlined by a robust ethos of conscientious capitalism. His ambition transcends personal gain, aiming instead to spark transformative global change through the power of responsible investment.

When not immersed in the world of finance, he’s continually captivated by the cultural richness of new cities, relishing the opportunity to learn from diverse societies. This passion for travel is eloquently documented on his site, ViaTravelers.com, where you can delve into his unique experiences via his author profile.

22 Awesome Social Enterprise Ideas and Examples

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

There are several ways you can go about searching for social enterprise ideas. Seeing examples of social enterprise in action is one of these best ways to get inspired for what you might want to create!

Social enterprise ideas, unlike conventional business ideas, typically result from a desire to solve a social need; similar to how many non-profit and charity organizations find their beginning.

As the message of merging business acumen and innovation with the task of building lasting social change spreads, and along with increasing numbers of powerful examples of positive change manifesting around the world, the social enterprise movement continues to gain traction. With this entrepreneurial approach to diversifying funding streams, an organization can be freed from “strings-attached” grant funding and often unreliable corporate or individual donations.

Before sharing a list of social entrepreneurship examples in action, let’s address a few of the most commonly asked questions about social enterprise:

How is a social enterprise different from a business?

Traditional business ideas can also come from identifying a social need but the difference between a social enterprise and a traditional business is the motivation of the entrepreneur. The primary motivation for a traditional entrepreneur is more-often-than-not a desire to make money whereas a social entrepreneur is driven fist and foremost by a passion to solve a social problem. Setting up as a business or using market principles (i.e. selling products or services) is used as a mechanism to solve the social or environmental problems they seek to impact.

What are the main objectives of a social enterprise?

Because of the different motivations that drive the two types of entrepreneurs, we must consider that their businesses will function a bit differently. We often hear the business world talk about focusing on the bottom line business practices that lead to increased monetary profitability. In comparison, social businesses focus on double – or triple – bottom line business practices that lead to social, environmental AND economic profitability. Acumen  defines social enterprise as:  “Any enterprise that prioritizes transformative social impact while striving for financial sustainability.”

What qualifies as a social enterprise?

Social Enterprise  is the practice of using market-based, entrepreneurial strategies for the purpose of progressing an organization’s social or environmental impact. Social Enterprises can take many forms and are not restricted to one particular legal structure or business model design. “Social Entrepreneurship uses business models – selling products or services – to solve social problems.” –  Trico Foundation “ Organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social problem through a market-driven approach.” –  Social Business Alliance

How does a social enterprise work?

With goals to achieve both social impact and financial sustainability, social enterprises look to a unique set of business models to achieve their goals. Some of the most common business model frameworks social enterprises use are: 1.  Cross-Compensation  – One group of customers pays for the service. Profits from this group are used to subsidize the service for another, underserved group. 2.  Fee for Service  – Beneficiaries pay directly for the goods or services provided by the social enterprise. 3. Employment and skills training  – The core purpose is to provide living wages, skills development, and job training to the beneficiaries: the employees. 4.  Market Intermediary  – The social enterprise acts as an intermediary, or distributor, to an expanded market. The beneficiaries are the suppliers of the product and/or service that is being distributed to an international market. 5.  Market Connector  – The social enterprise facilitates trade relationships between beneficiaries and new markets. 6. Independent Support  – The social enterprise delivers a product or service to an external market that is separate from the beneficiary and social impact generated. Funds are used to support social programs to the beneficiary. 7. Cooperative  – A for-profit or nonprofit business that is owned by its members who also use its services, providing virtually any type of goods or services.

Can a social enterprise be for profit?

Yes, social enterprises can take on any legal structure! A social enterprise approach is only a means to an end: the profit-making strategies are not in place for profit maximization but are in place as an essential component to bring about social or environmental change in a meaningful and long term way.

What is an example of social enterprise?

Aravind Eye Care  is one of the earliest examples of a social enterprise model at work. This renowned Indian organization is designed to let people pay what they can. Aravind provides cataract surgery and other eye care services to any one who comes for it regardless of their ability to pay. Those who can afford to pay market price, do, and those who can’t, don’t. Amazingly, the number of patients who chose to pay covers the cost of providing care to the entire client base, allowing for wholistic care for all who need it.

Now let’s look at our list of 22 Awesome Social Enterprise Examples!

Social supermarket.

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Fee for Service. Example:  Community Shop ) – Create a food market that sells food to low-income communities at a discounted price. Discounted food is donated (or purchased very cheaply) from food suppliers and other supermarkets, who cannot sell the food themselves for a variety of reasons such as approaching expiry dates, dented cans, and product mislabeling.

Used Textbooks for Social Change

Social Change

(Business Model: Cross-compensation and Independent Support. Example:  Textbooks for Change ) – Partner with student groups/clubs to collect used textbooks at the end of each semester. Students donate their used textbooks. Some of the textbooks are re-sold to students at the college/university of their collection source; some of the textbooks are donated to students in need at underserved universities in the developing world. The profits are split between the student groups/clubs, program administration costs, and any remaining funds are used to support social programs in developing communities.

Online Socially Conscious Marketplace

Online market

(Business Model: Market Connector. Example: Etsy and Uncommon Goods ) — Help underserved artisans sell their products to the world by building a platform that makes it easy for them. Artisans can either manage their online store directly, or the platform can act merely as a listing service that connects the artisans face-to-face with buyers. 

Revenue is created by either charging listing fees directly to the artisan, via a commission on goods sold, or built-in as a premium fee to the buyer. The profit generated can be used to fund social services that directly affect the artisan communities.

Sustainable Water  

Sustainable Water

(Business Model: Fee for Service. Example: EOS International ) — To replicate a model like EOS International, pinpoint regions with a high need for clean drinking water and implement a low-cost, low-maintenance water purification technology that can be easily attached to existing water tanks.

This system should efficiently inactivate pathogens, preferably without the need for external energy sources, like EOS’ chlorine purification tablets. Beyond installation, incorporate an educational component to teach locals how to use, maintain, and repair the technology. This guarantees the project’s sustainability and empowers the community. For example, EOS’ impact model includes a program to empower local entrepreneurs to earn income by distributing chlorine tablets, which boost local incomes and also financially supports EOS to continue expanding clean water initiatives.

Micro Lending  

Micro Leding

(Business Model: Market Connector. Example: Kiva or FINCA ) — Create a platform for individuals and organizations to lend money directly to entrepreneurs who would otherwise not get funding, such as those in the developing world. Charge a small fee to cover the operational costs.

Social Crowdfunding  

Crowd Funding

(Business Model: Market Connector. Example:  Start Some Good ) – Build a platform for social entrepreneurs to find groups of funders. Similar to the Micro Lending platform, but lenders take a promise of something in the future in return for ‘donating’ a bit of money to the Social Entrepreneur’s project now. Charge a small fee to cover the operational costs of the platform.

Baking/Cooking for a Social Cause  

Baking for a social cause

(Business Model: Employment and Skills Training. Example:  Edgar and Joe’s ) – Open a bakery/restaurant or another food-providing establishment that focuses on building employment skills for underemployed groups, such as at-risk youth or former drug addicts. The profit from sales of food and beverage go to wages, training, and social betterment programs for the staff-beneficiaries.

Efficient Wood Stoves for Developing World  


(Business Model: Cross-Compensation. Example:  Bio Lite ) – Millions of women in developing countries suffer from cardiopulmonary diseases as a direct result of breathing in wood smoke on a daily basis. Build a more efficient stove to solve this problem. Sell the stoves at or above market rate to those who can afford it, and use the money from the sale of the stoves to partly subsidize the cost for those who cannot afford it.

Social Awareness Brand  

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Independent Support. Example: Beautiful In Every Shade ) — Start by identifying a powerful, inclusive message that resonates with a broad audience, like celebrating the beauty in diversity. Develop an appealing and distinctive logo or insignia that symbolizes your message, akin to the work of artist Chris Charles for Beautiful In Every Shade. 

Launch with a signature product, such as an iconic tee, which acts as a canvas to spread your message. Your brand’s success will come from not just the products you sell, but the powerful message they convey and the community they build.

Micro Power Generation

Micro power generation

(Business Model: Fee for Service. Examples:  Husk Power ) – Provide micro-electric solutions for remote applications in the developing world. Two ways you could do this are to create a stand-alone power system from used, rechargeable batteries to power classrooms. Or, you could create a mini power plant that uses biomass produced by the humans, plants, and animals of an off-grid village. These types of systems are very cheap to build and implement and can be paid for on a fee-for-usage basis. This idea might also lend itself well as a cooperative.

Socially Conscious Consumer Electronics

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Fee for Service and Market Intermediary. Examples:  Fair Phone .) Build a new kind of consumer electronic device; one that is built with conflict-free materials, provides fair wages to the workers who build it, offers a fair and transparent price for the end consumer, and does not engage in unfair consumer practices (such as locking smartphones, or creating proprietary software/hardware interfaces).

Educational Equity

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Cooperative. Example: First Book ) — Focus on the mission of providing equitable educational resources to children from low-income backgrounds. Begin by building a strong network of educators and program leaders, aiming to create the largest online community in this sector. This network is crucial for identifying the needs and gaps in resources across various communities. 

Focus on collecting and distributing high-quality educational materials, such as books, learning aids, and digital resources. These should be sourced to suit a diverse range of backgrounds and educational settings, particularly targeting underprivileged areas. 

Develop partnerships with publishers, educational organizations, and donors to source these materials, either through donations or at reduced costs. Implement a scalable model that allows you to reach a wide demographic, to impact millions of children annually. The success of this model hinges on the effective distribution of resources, which will allow them to reach the classrooms and educational programs where they are most needed.

Ultra-Modern Technology to Attract Economic Development

ultramodern technology

(Business Model: Fee for Service. Cooperative. Example:  O-Net ) A small community normally doesn’t have much to offer a business, unless you make it a place that has the best business service in one area. For instance, you could create an internet service that is owned by the community and provides internet access at ten-times the bandwidth for the same price as those in another community would have to pay. The cost could be subsidized by the community, but it would attract high-tech businesses to locate in the community, fueling the local economy and benefiting everyone in it.

Beauty Products to Support a Social Mission

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Independent Support. Example:  Bottle 4 Bottle .) Partner with major beauty brands to sell their products as an online retailer. Convince them to provide their products to you at a favorable wholesale rate, and divert the profits to purchasing milk and baby bottles for distribution in the developing world.

A Virtual Factory of Computer Workers

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Employment and Skills Training. Example:  Cloud Factory .) Build an online community of computer workers, hired from underemployed communities. Train each of them to do one computer-related thing well (ie. writing functions in a particular programming language, translating code for a specific and common API, etc.) Combine dozens of them to complete a product, such as a website, for a client that would normally only require 1 or 2 people. Because each person is highly micro-specialized, the larger team forms as a virtual ‘assembly line’ to finish the project faster, cheaper, and with a higher quality standard than the traditional method of locally hiring or outsourcing a broad-range knowledge worker. Virtual assembly line workers enjoy employment with higher wages than they would normally receive doing menial work.

A Marketplace for Social Good

Market place

(Business Model: Market Intermediary. Example: Ten Thousand Villages .) — Sell socially and ethically conscious products in a virtual or real environment. By purchasing these products from the producers, the social good flows down the logistics chain to the beneficiaries, and consumers can find a bunch of the products they want in a convenient shopping format.

Exercise Equipment for Social Outreach

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Fee for Service and Cross-Compensation. Example:  Rubber Banditz .) Sell a piece of exercise equipment that is simple to use and affordable. Promote the equipment as an alternative to full gym access for those who can’t afford it. Use profits and product to subsidize outreach programs that promote healthy living, thus promoting healthy living to two underserved groups: direct customers and outreach participants.

Educational Travel Company


(Business Model: Fee for Service. Examples: Think Impact .) — Start a company that brings together travelers with experiences that provide an intercultural learning experience and a positive social impact on a local community. Profits are recycled back into the communities they affect.

Food for Philanthropy


(Business Model: Independent Support. Examples: Newman’s Own .) — Create a food company that provides an already needed/wanted product and use the profits to support philanthropic work. The company is easily scalable and can focus on just one product line/charity, or can be easily scaled to provide multiple food products and support a variety of charities.

Social Products and Employment for the underserved

Social Employment

(Business Model: Employment and Skills Training, Fee for Service. Example: Jobs for Humanity .) Source one or several social good products (clean cookstoves, affordable power solutions for the developing world), and hire an underemployed group to sell these products to their community on a commission basis. It’s both a distribution/marketing method and a way to employ underemployed populations.

Water for everyone!

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business model: Cross-compensation. Example:  Soma Water .) Create a home water filtration solution that you sell to the first world, and use the proceeds of these sales to provide the same (or similar) solution to the developing world. As a bonus, use environmentally friendly materials and processes in the creation of the product.

Micro-Giving for easy philanthropy

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

(Business Model: Cross-compensation or independent support. Example:  B1G1 .) Partner with businesses and have them donate micro amounts of products/money to a social cause for every transaction they enter. For example, set up a relationship with a baker. And for every loaf of bread they sell, have them donate a handful of flour (or monetary equivalent) to a food-aid organization in the developing world.

tools4dev Practical tools for international development

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

Social Enterprise Business Plan Template

A social enterprise is a business that aims to achieve a particular public or community mission (social, environmental, cultural or economic), and reinvests the majority of its profits into achieving that mission. This template can be used to write a business plan for a social enterprise that describes both the positive impact of the social enterprise and the plan to make it a viable business.

Download the Social Enterprise Business Plan template

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

This template is appropriate when:

  • You are writing a business plan for a social enterprise (if you aren’t sure whether you are running a social enterprise have a look at this article ).

This template is NOT appropriate when:

  • You are writing a plan for a non-profit that gets most of its revenue through donations or grants.
  • You are writing a plan for a for-profit business. However, in this case you could just use the business section of the template.

The Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Template by  tools4dev  is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License . All other content is  © tools4dev .

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Social Enterprise Business Plan Template

  • Written by Dave Lavinsky

social enterprise business plan template

Table of Contents

If you’re looking to create a social enterprise business plan, you’ve come to the right place!

Over the past 25 years, the PlanPros team has helped over 1 million entrepreneurs and business owners write business plans….and many of them have started and grown successful social enterprise businesses.

Social Enterprise Business Plan Example

Below is our social enterprise business plan template and sample plan:  

I. Executive Summary

Company overview.

At NobleCause Social Ventures, we are dedicated to fostering community development and social good through our diverse business operations. Headquartered in the vibrant and philanthropic city of Austin, Texas, our company is uniquely positioned at the intersection of commercial success and social impact. We specialize in operating socially-conscious businesses that not only turn a profit but also contribute positively to society. Our portfolio includes a community-focused coffee shop, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic, and a thrift shop that supports local assistance programs. By integrating commercial strategies with social objectives, we strive to create sustainable value for both our stakeholders and the wider community.

Success Factors

Our success is underpinned by a strong commitment to social responsibility and a unique business model that aligns profitability with community impact. We have achieved significant accomplishments, including establishing a well-regarded coffee shop that serves as a local gathering place, successfully operating a clinic that provides affordable pet health services, and running a thrift shop that funds valuable community programs. These ventures not only meet market needs but also enhance the quality of life in our communities. Our ability to generate consistent revenue streams while achieving social objectives is a testament to our innovative approach and the dedication of our team.

Industry Analysis

The industries in which we operate are both competitive and ripe for socially-conscious enterprises. The coffee shop market, for instance, is saturated with both large chains and local entities, yet there’s a growing consumer demand for businesses that contribute to local community-building. The pet health service industry is similarly competitive, with a clear need for affordable pet care options, as evidenced by the support for our low-cost clinic. Additionally, the market for second-hand goods is expanding, with consumers increasingly seeking sustainable and budget-friendly shopping alternatives, which our thrift shop directly addresses. These industry trends underscore the viability of our socially-driven business strategy.

Customer Analysis

Our customer base is diverse and driven by values that resonate with our mission. Patrons of our coffee shop span various demographics including local residents, students, and professionals who value a communal space and a local business ethos. Our low-cost pet clinic serves pet owners who prioritize affordability without compromising on care, often drawing from lower-income communities. The thrift shop attracts environmentally and budget-conscious consumers, as well as those who support social causes through their purchases. Understanding these customer segments and their unique needs allows us to tailor our services and create meaningful connections.

Competitive Analysis

Coffee At The Hub: A community-centric coffee shop with competitive pricing and a focus on local products and ambiance.

Texas Coalition for Animal Protection – Garland: Offers accessible pet health services, backed by strong community support and mission-driven practices.

ACO Resale Shop: Provides a range of second-hand goods at low prices, contributing to community assistance programs.

Our competitive advantages include our multifaceted approach to community service, our flexibility in responding to local needs, and our dedication to sustainable practices across our operations. These strengths allow us to stand out in markets often dominated by single-focus entities.

Marketing Plan

In our Marketing Plan, we focus on products, services, and pricing that align with our social mission. Our coffee shop offers a curated selection of beverages and snacks, emphasizing quality and local sourcing, while maintaining prices that are accessible to a broad customer base. Our pet clinic provides essential services at costs designed to remove financial barriers to pet care, and our thrift shop features an eclectic mix of low-cost items, supporting the dual objectives of affordability and sustainability. We also employ a tiered pricing strategy to cater to different economic capabilities within our communities, ensuring inclusivity in our customer base.

Our promotions plan revolves around community engagement and digital marketing efforts. By hosting local events, partnering with community organizations, and utilizing social media, we aim to build strong relationships with our customers. Our promotions emphasize the social impact of their patronage, encouraging a loyal customer base that supports our mission. Through targeted online campaigns and a strong presence on various digital platforms, we maximize our reach and effectively communicate our unique value proposition.

Operations Plan

Our Operations Plan focuses on the efficient delivery of services and the achievement of key milestones. We prioritize operational excellence in our coffee shop, pet clinic, and thrift store, ensuring that each venture operates at the highest standard. We have set strategic milestones that include expanding our service offerings, increasing our customer base, and enhancing our community programs. These goals are designed to drive growth while reinforcing our commitment to social impact. By streamlining processes and leveraging technology, we aim to maximize efficiency and scale our operations effectively.

Management Team

Our Management Team consists of experienced professionals with a shared passion for social entrepreneurship. Each member brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in their respective fields, from retail management to veterinary services, and non-profit leadership. Together, we have cultivated a culture of innovation and social responsibility that permeates every aspect of our business. Our team’s diverse skill set and dedication to our mission are the driving forces behind our success and the positive impact we make in the community.

Financial Plan

To achieve our growth goals, we are seeking to secure funding that will enable us to expand our operations and deepen our social impact. This investment will be critical in supporting the scale-up of our current ventures, allowing us to reach more customers and amplify the positive outcomes of our work. Our financial plan outlines the necessary capital to realize these ambitions and positions us for long-term sustainability and success.

Below is an overview of our expected financial performance over the next five years:

II. Company Overview

At NobleCause Social Ventures, we are proud to introduce ourselves as the newest Social Enterprise operating in Wylie, TX. As a local social enterprise, we are dedicated to serving our community with a focus on sustainability and social impact. We’ve noticed a gap in the local market for a social enterprise offering a wide variety of products, and we’re here to fill that gap with our diverse offerings.

Our Products & Services

We take pride in our selection of eco-friendly household products, priced at just $1.50, that not only serve their purpose but also contribute to a healthier planet. Our sustainable fashion items, also available for $1.50, blend style with a commitment to environmental responsibility. Additionally, we provide comprehensive job training for $49, equipping individuals with the skills they need to thrive in today’s job market. At NobleCause, we believe in providing value that extends beyond the point of sale, creating a positive impact on both our customers and the community.

Our Location

Based in Wylie, TX, we are strategically located to serve the residents of our vibrant town. We understand our community’s needs and are dedicated to addressing them through our social enterprise.

Why We Will Succeed

Our confidence in NobleCause Social Ventures’ potential for success stems from several key factors. Our founder brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from previously running a successful social enterprise. This expertise is complemented by our expansive product range and the variety we offer, setting us apart from the competition and ensuring that we meet the diverse needs of our customers.

Our Story & Legal Structure

Since our founding on January 3rd, 2024, NobleCause Social Ventures has been operating as a Limited Liability Company, combining the flexibility of a traditional business with a focus on social objectives. We have hit several milestones already, including the creation of our distinctive logo, the development of our company name that resonates with our mission, and securing a prime location that will serve as the heart of our operations.

III. Industry Analysis

The Social Enterprise industry in the United States is experiencing significant growth and has become a major force in the economy. According to a recent report by the American Sustainable Business Council, the industry generated an estimated $500 billion in revenue in 2019. This impressive figure demonstrates the size and potential of the market, highlighting the increasing demand for socially responsible products and services.

Furthermore, market research indicates that the Social Enterprise industry is expected to continue its upward trajectory in the coming years. Experts predict an annual growth rate of approximately 17%, which would result in a market worth over $1 trillion by 2025. This projected growth is fueled by several factors, including the growing consumer preference for socially conscious businesses and the increasing recognition of the positive impact that Social Enterprises can have on communities and the environment.

These trends in the Social Enterprise industry bode exceptionally well for NobleCause Social Ventures, a new player in the market serving customers in Wylie, TX. As consumer demand for socially responsible products and services continues to rise, NobleCause Social Ventures is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend. By offering a range of innovative and sustainable solutions, NobleCause has the potential to attract a significant customer base and establish itself as a leader in the local market. With the industry set to experience substantial growth, NobleCause can expect to see its customer base and revenue expand in the coming years.

IV. Customer Analysis

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

NobleCause Social Ventures will target the local residents of Wylie, Texas as its primary customer base. The organization will cater to community members who are not only interested in purchasing goods and services but also in contributing to social causes. These customers are likely to be values-driven shoppers who prioritize community welfare and sustainable practices in their buying decisions.

The enterprise will also focus on partnering with local businesses and nonprofits to expand its reach. By doing so, NobleCause will engage a customer segment that is keen on collaborative efforts for social impact. These partnerships will provide mutual benefits, broadening the customer base and reinforcing the social venture’s presence in the local market.

In addition to direct consumers and local entities, NobleCause Social Ventures will tailor its offerings to attract socially-conscious investors and volunteers. This group is composed of individuals and entities that seek to support initiatives with a positive societal footprint. Their involvement will not only provide capital and manpower but also serve as brand ambassadors for the venture within and beyond Wylie.

Customer Needs

NobleCause Social Ventures recognizes that residents expect access to high-quality products that not only meet their practical needs but also align with their values of social responsibility and community support. Customers can find a curated selection of goods that are not only superior in craftsmanship but also contribute to positive social impact. This dual satisfaction of product excellence and ethical consumption is a core need that NobleCause caters to.

In addition to quality products, NobleCause understands the growing demand for skill development and personal betterment. The enterprise offers training programs designed to empower individuals with new capabilities, enhancing their professional qualifications and personal lives. This educational aspect addresses the community’s aspiration for continual learning and self-improvement.

Furthermore, NobleCause identifies the desire for a sense of community and connectedness among consumers. By creating a space where people can engage with the enterprise and each other, customers can forge meaningful relationships and foster a spirit of communal support. This social need is just as important as the tangible products and services, contributing to NobleCause’s holistic approach to serving its customers.

V. Competitive Analysis

Direct competitors, coffee at the hub.

Coffee At The Hub offers a selection of coffee beverages, light snacks, and pastries to customers in the local area. Their price points are competitive, appealing to daily coffee consumers and those seeking a community-centric coffee shop experience. The enterprise operates in a single location, creating a hub for social interaction and local engagement.

They serve a diverse customer segment that includes local residents, students, and professionals looking for a space to relax or work. Geographically, they cater to the immediate neighborhood and attract customers who appreciate the convenience of a local coffee shop. Key strengths include their commitment to using locally sourced products and providing a cozy, welcoming environment for community gatherings.

However, Coffee At The Hub’s weaknesses lie in its limited product range and reliance on a single location, which may restrict growth potential and market reach. They also face the challenge of differentiating themselves in a highly competitive coffee shop market that includes larger chains and other local options.

Texas Coalition for Animal Protection – Garland

The Texas Coalition for Animal Protection (TCAP) – Garland provides affordable spay, neuter, and vaccination services for pets. Their price points are designed to be accessible to pet owners, with a focus on promoting animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. They generate revenues through services rendered and donations from supporters.

TCAP operates in Garland, TX, and serves customers in the surrounding areas, including pet owners who might not otherwise afford these services. Their key strengths include strong community support, a mission-driven approach, and partnerships with local organizations.

One weakness could be the potential for limited service capacity due to high demand, which can lead to longer wait times for customers. They also compete with full-service veterinary clinics that offer a wider range of services, which might be preferred by some pet owners.

ACO Resale Shop

ACO Resale Shop offers a variety of second-hand goods, including clothing, home décor, and furniture. The shop aims to provide affordable options to budget-conscious consumers while supporting community assistance programs through revenue generated from sales. Price points at ACO Resale Shop are kept low to attract a wide range of customers.

The shop is located in a single storefront and serves the local community in and around Wylie, TX. The customer segments include bargain hunters, environmentally conscious shoppers, and individuals seeking to support charitable causes through their purchases. ACO Resale Shop’s key strengths are its commitment to the community and the ability to offer unique items at low costs.

However, weaknesses include the unpredictable nature of inventory, which can vary greatly in quality and quantity, and competition from larger thrift store chains that have more robust supply chains. Additionally, they may face challenges in maintaining customer interest without a steady flow of desirable merchandise.

Competitive Advantages

At NobleCause Social Ventures, we pride ourselves on offering a diverse array of products that surpasses what our competition can provide. This variety not only caters to a broader demographic but also ensures that our customers can find exactly what they need, all in one place. Our expansive inventory is tailored to meet the unique needs and preferences of our community, allowing us to foster strong relationships with our customers. We understand that choice is paramount when it comes to consumer decisions, and we strive to deliver an unparalleled shopping experience with options that accommodate different tastes and requirements.

Furthermore, our commitment to social impact provides us with a significant edge in the market. We integrate social responsibility into our business model, ensuring that every purchase contributes to the betterment of our society. This resonates with the growing number of consumers who are looking for more than just a product or service; they are seeking to make a positive difference with their spending. Our approach not only helps us to connect with our customers on a deeper level but also builds a loyal customer base that values and supports our mission. By aligning our objectives with the aspirations of our customers, we create a robust, purpose-driven brand that stands out in today’s competitive landscape.

VI. Marketing Plan

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products, Services & Pricing

Eco-friendly household products.

NobleCause Social Ventures caters to environmentally conscious consumers by offering a range of eco-friendly household products. These products are designed to minimize the environmental impact and support sustainable living practices. Customers can expect to find items such as biodegradable cleaning supplies, reusable kitchenware, and energy-efficient appliances, each thoughtfully priced at an average of $1.50, making sustainability accessible to a broader audience.

Sustainable Fashion Items

Embracing the movement towards sustainable fashion, NobleCause Social Ventures provides a selection of fashion items that blend style with sustainability. The enterprise sources clothing and accessories made from organic, recycled, or upcycled materials that do not compromise on quality or aesthetic appeal. Fashion enthusiasts who are keen on reducing their carbon footprint can explore these items at an approachable average price point of $1.50.

Job Training Programs

Beyond products, NobleCause Social Ventures plays an active role in community development through its job training programs. These programs are tailored to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary for employment in the growing green economy. Participants can expect to receive comprehensive training in various areas, including but not limited to sustainable agriculture, renewable energy technologies, and eco-friendly product manufacturing. The job training is offered at a competitive rate of $49, providing valuable opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Promotions Plan

NobleCause Social Ventures understands the importance of strategic promotion in attracting and retaining customers. Effective promotion raises awareness, engages the local community, and communicates the unique value proposition of the enterprise.

Online Marketing

Online marketing stands at the forefront of NobleCause Social Ventures’ promotional strategies. The enterprise leverages the power of digital platforms to reach a wider audience. A robust website serves as the central hub for information, storytelling, and community engagement. Social media profiles on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are meticulously managed to foster a sense of community and encourage social sharing.

Email marketing campaigns will keep subscribers informed about new initiatives, events, and ways to get involved. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will ensure that NobleCause Social Ventures appears prominently in search results for relevant queries. Additionally, the enterprise will engage in targeted online advertising to reach potential customers with precision.

Community Engagement and Events

Active involvement in local events and community engagement will form a key part of NobleCause Social Ventures’ promotional efforts. Hosting workshops, participating in local markets, and collaborating with other local businesses will raise the enterprise’s profile while underscoring its commitment to social impact. These events will provide opportunities for direct interaction, fostering a loyal customer base and word-of-mouth promotion.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Strategic partnerships and collaborations with other organizations and influencers will amplify NobleCause Social Ventures’ reach. Aligning with entities that share similar values and objectives will not only extend its network but also reinforce its credibility and mission.

Public Relations and Media Outreach

Public relations efforts will play a crucial role in building a strong brand image. NobleCause Social Ventures will engage with local media outlets to secure coverage of its story, mission, and impact. Press releases, feature articles, and interviews will generate organic exposure and reinforce the enterprise’s presence in the community.

Content Marketing

Content marketing through blogs, videos, and podcasts will provide valuable information and insights related to the enterprise’s field of work. By producing high-quality content, NobleCause Social Ventures will position itself as a thought leader, building trust and authority in the space.

Through these promotional methods, NobleCause Social Ventures will attract customers and create lasting relationships built on shared values and commitments to social good.

VII. Operations Plan

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

  • Customer Engagement: Maintain active communication channels with customers through social media, phone calls, and emails to understand their needs and feedback.
  • Service Delivery: Ensure timely and high-quality delivery of services or products to customers by adhering to established protocols and standards.
  • Inventory Management: Regularly check inventory levels and restock as necessary to prevent shortages and ensure the availability of products for customers.
  • Quality Control: Conduct daily quality checks to ensure that all products and services meet the enterprise’s standards and customer expectations.
  • Financial Management: Monitor daily financial transactions, including sales and expenditures, to maintain healthy cash flow and budget adherence.
  • Staff Coordination: Schedule and manage staff shifts to guarantee that operations are fully staffed during business hours.
  • Impact Assessment: Collect data and analyze the social impact of the enterprise’s activities, making adjustments as needed to enhance community benefits.
  • Vendor Relations: Communicate with suppliers and partners to secure the best prices and maintain a reliable supply chain.
  • Marketing Activities: Implement and monitor marketing campaigns to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
  • Community Outreach: Engage in local community events and activities to raise awareness about the social enterprise and its mission.
  • Compliance Monitoring: Ensure that all operations comply with local laws and regulations, including health and safety standards.
  • Feedback Analysis: Review customer feedback and implement necessary improvements to services, products, and customer interactions.
  • Training and Development: Provide ongoing training for staff to improve their skills and ensure they are knowledgeable about the enterprise’s products and mission.
  • Strategic Planning: Participate in regular planning sessions to assess progress towards goals and make strategic decisions for future operations.
  • Secure a physical location for the enterprise that is accessible and visible to the community.
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses for operation, ensuring compliance with local regulations and laws.
  • Build out the location to meet the operational needs and create a welcoming environment for customers.
  • Develop and launch an impactful marketing campaign to build brand awareness and attract initial customers.
  • Establish partnerships with local businesses and organizations to promote services and foster community engagement.
  • Hire and train a dedicated team that shares the social mission and can deliver excellent customer service.
  • Officially launch NobleCause Social Ventures to the public and begin offering services.
  • Implement an efficient operational system to ensure quality service delivery and customer satisfaction.
  • Monitor and adapt business operations to achieve a consistent increase in revenue, aiming to reach $15,000/month.
  • Establish a feedback loop with customers and stakeholders to continuously improve services and address any issues promptly.

VIII. Management Team

Our management team has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan.

Management Team Members

NobleCause Social Ventures management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Avery Hernandez, CEO

With a proven track record of leadership and innovation, Avery Hernandez stands at the helm of NobleCause Social Ventures as the CEO. Avery’s prior experience in managing a social enterprise has endowed them with a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that come with running a mission-driven organization. Their accomplishments in the sector are a testament to their capacity to steer NobleCause Social Ventures toward achieving significant social impact while maintaining financial sustainability. Avery’s strategic vision, combined with their hands-on experience in social entrepreneurship, positions them as an inspirational and effective leader, capable of guiding the company towards lasting success.

IX. Financial Plan

Funding requirements/use of funds.

To accomplish our growth goals, NobleCause Social Ventures needs $163,000 in funding. Key uses of this funding will be as follows:

Financial Projections

financial projection social enterprise business plan

5 Year Annual Income Statement

5 year annual balance sheet, 5 year annual cash flow statement, what is a social enterprise business plan.

A social enterprise business plan is a document that outlines the strategies you have developed to start and/or grow your social enterprise business. Among other things, it details information about your industry, customers and competitors to help ensure your company is positioned properly to succeed. Your social enterprise business plan also assesses how much funding you will need to grow your business and proves, via your financial forecasts, why the business is viable.  

Why You Need a Business Plan for your Social Enterprise Business

A business plan is required if you are seeking funding for your social enterprise business. Investors and lenders will review your plan to ensure it meets their criteria before providing you with capital. In addition, a social enterprise business plan helps you and your team stay focused. It documents the strategies you must follow and gives you financial projections you should strive to achieve and against which you can judge your performance.  

Social Enterprise Business Plan Template PDF

Download our Social Enterprise Business Plan PDF to help guide you as you create your business plan for your own social enterprise.  

social entrepreneurship business plan examples

Business plans for social enterprises (SE) and social businesses

Writing a business plan helps to ensure you focus on the core of your business. You must concentrate on key deliverables in a resource-constrained organization and communicate effectively with your stakeholders, including your funders or investors, customers, community, board, employees and volunteers.

The value of social enterprise business planning

Business planning will help any social enterprise (SE) or social purpose business (SPB) to:

  • Attract investment
  • Identify risks
  • Measure social or environmental outcomes
  • Demonstrate that you are using a business approach
  • Showcase the management team
  • Build alliances
  • Check thinking
  • Determine feasibility

In a business plan, you must clearly articulate:

  • The mission of your social enterprise
  • The outline of specific actions to achieve your goals and objectives
  • Establish targets for planning, measuring and improving performance
  • Project the necessary resources, costs and revenues of your program

Sample business plan templates

Many business plan templates exist in the public domain, including this one .

The elements are best used as prompts by social entrepreneurs to build their own plan, assessing along the way whether or not the question (or element) is relevant for the Social Enterprise or the social business.

Social enterprise business plans versus non-profit plans

Description of the business/mission statement.

The social mission and the importance of meeting both the financial and social goals should be discussed in this section.

Management and organization

Financing the capacity of the organization is as important as supporting the programs. Include an assessment of the current organization, planned additions and/or changes as well as the cost of building the team’s capacity in order to achieve the projected growth. Demonstrate that the staff has both programmatic and business skills.

Market assessment and marketing plan

The plan should focus on delivering market-driven products or services as opposed to program-driven products or services to the target customer .

You will also need to articulate how to promote your social objectives along with the product and service.  Partnerships and collaborations extend the reach of the social venture.  Highlight your partnership strategy in this section.

Your marketing plan includes the strategies and tactics to reach your customers, partners and the community.  Outline the public relations, media relations, and advertising that will be required to meet your objectives. The marketing plan should be linked in with your financial plan and your overall strategy.

A solid financial position will allow you to pursue your mission with flexibility and high-quality service, beyond mere stability.  Investors must feel confident their investment will be used effectively to achieve both the social mission and financial results that will enable your organization to thrive and achieve continued growth.

The financial plan provides the framework for social entrepreneurs to forecast the resources they need to create and sustain social and economic value. Commercial entrepreneurs prepare business plans to show why they need money and how they will use it.  Social entrepreneurs should use the same approach and not worry about the limited resources currently available.

Social Enterprise Investors

Investors and funders alike want to know the cost to develop, start up, offer and deliver services or products, whether or not any one user or payer is willing to cover it. When interacting with potential funders or investors, you need a detailed budget and projection of required outside investment tied in with a plan to reach the desired market position.

Investors want returns, typically a blend of financial and social. Your plan must describe the potential “return” on investment for investors and the desired social outcomes, and provide a framework for assessing social performance .

Remember that a social purpose business is similar to any other for-profit business, but the organization will likely raise financing from investors who are interested in a double bottom line. Social enterprises in the non-profit environment will typically raise funding from traditional fundraising, loans and other forms of social finance.

Dees, J.G., Emerson, J., & Economy, P. (2001).  Enterprising Nonprofits: A Toolkit for Social Entrepreneurs . Toronto: John Wiley & Sons.

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Copenhagen Business School

Social Business Model and Planning for Social Innovation

This course is part of Social Entrepreneurship Specialization

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

Kai  Hockerts

Instructor: Kai Hockerts

Financial aid available

13,974 already enrolled

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There are 5 modules in this course

In this course we will take the social business opportunity that you have identified in the first course to a higher level. Specifically, you will develop a business model using the Business Model Canvas. Gradually you will also start writing your business plan. Moreover, you will be able to assess different organizational forms and select the one that is appropriate for your developed business model. By the end of the course you will be able to compare different social impact investment methods and choose the right funding strategy for your social venture.

Note: It is highly recommended to have completed Course 1: 'Identifying Social Entrepreneurship Opportunities' before you start with this Course!

Introduction of the Business Model Canvas

Welcome to Course 2 of this Specialization! In this first Module we will introduce you to the Business Model Canvas - a useful tool that will guide you through the business plan process. You will be able to categorize the elements in the Canvas and start to use it in order to create your business model.

What's included

5 videos 4 readings 1 peer review 2 discussion prompts

5 videos • Total 52 minutes

  • Welcome to Course 2 • 4 minutes • Preview module
  • Business Model • 9 minutes
  • An Introduction for the Business Model Canvas | Karim Jabbar • 18 minutes
  • Applying the Business Model Canvas to Hueforbi | Karim Jabbar & Renee Madsen • 16 minutes
  • Peer Evaluation Assignment & Optional Case Assignment • 3 minutes

4 readings • Total 50 minutes

  • Prerequisites for this course • 10 minutes
  • Business Models as Models • 20 minutes
  • Preview: Business Model Generation | Osterwalder & Pigneur 2009 • 10 minutes
  • The seizmic APP • 10 minutes

1 peer review • Total 120 minutes

  • Business Model Canvas - The Value Proposition • 120 minutes

2 discussion prompts • Total 25 minutes

  • Present yourself & Babele project • 15 minutes
  • Business Model Canvas for Hueforbi (Optional Assignment) • 10 minutes

Applying the Business Model Canvas

In Module 2 you will gain more experience using the Business Model Canvas as a tool to conceptualize your business ideas and will be also introduced to the Social Business Model Canvas. Moreover you will receive advice about cooperating with your team members and coordinating in the iteration process. The Module will conclude with initial insight to writing a business plan - What are important elements of a business plan?

8 videos 1 reading 1 peer review 1 discussion prompt

8 videos • Total 56 minutes

  • Introduction to Module 2 | Business Model Canvas of Hueforbi • 22 minutes • Preview module
  • The Social Business Model Canvas | Ted Ladd • 9 minutes
  • Start Developing Your Business Model Canvas • 5 minutes
  • How to co-create a Business Model | Sudhanshu Rai • 2 minutes
  • An Introduction to Business Plan Writing • 7 minutes
  • How the RubyCup Team used its Business Plan • 3 minutes
  • Use Babele (now the seizmic APP) to interact with others • 2 minutes
  • Instructions for Peer Review & Optional Case Assignment • 1 minute

1 reading • Total 45 minutes

  • The Ruby Cup Business Plan • 45 minutes

1 peer review • Total 60 minutes

  • Competitor / Peer Analysis • 60 minutes

1 discussion prompt • Total 15 minutes

  • The Ruby Cup Business Plan • 15 minutes

The Purpose of a Business Plan

Welcome to Module 3! At this point you will start to dive deeper into creating your business plan. After analyzing a real-world business plan of a social enterprise you will listen to guest speaker giving advice about important issues to consider when writing your business plan. You will be encouraged to think through different organizational forms a specific social enterprise may implement and start to outline your own business plan.

5 videos 2 readings 1 peer review 1 discussion prompt

5 videos • Total 41 minutes

  • Discussing the Ruby Cup Business Plan • 19 minutes • Preview module
  • Key Elements of a Good Business Plan | Ted Ladd • 4 minutes
  • What to Think Through before Starting a Business Plan | Sudhanshu Rai • 7 minutes
  • Instructions for Optional Case Assignment & Peer Review • 3 minutes
  • Interview CEO of Bybi | Oliver Maxwell • 8 minutes

2 readings • Total 40 minutes

  • A Business Planning Guide to Developing a Social Enterprise • 30 minutes
  • The Grunt Fund Calculator • 10 minutes
  • Start your Business Plan • 60 minutes

1 discussion prompt • Total 10 minutes

  • Select an Organizational Form for Bybi • 10 minutes

Selecting an Organizational Form

In Module 4 you will intensify your knowledge about various organizational forms. In particular new organizational forms, tailor-made for social enterprises, in the US and the UK will be presented and you will be encouraged to scan the legal framework in your own country. Once you have identified a form that matches your expectations you will continue your business plan process by starting to think about funding options in the next Module of this Course.

7 videos 1 reading 1 peer review 1 discussion prompt

7 videos • Total 65 minutes

  • Introduction to Module 4 | What Organizational Form for Bybi? • 17 minutes • Preview module
  • New Organizational Forms in the US: L3C & B Corp | Jeffrey Robinson • 8 minutes
  • New Organizational Form in the UK: Community Interest Company (CIC) | Helen Haugh & Roger Spear • 14 minutes
  • Start selecting an organizational form for your own startup • 4 minutes
  • Mark Norbury (UnLtd) on organizational forms in the UK • 3 minutes
  • Interview with CEO of "Den Sociale Kapital Fond" | Lars Jannick Johansen • 13 minutes
  • Assignment Instructions • 2 minutes

1 reading • Total 15 minutes

  • Why Consider A Benefit Corporation? • 15 minutes
  • Select an Organizational Form for your Startup • 60 minutes
  • How to attract impact investors? • 15 minutes

Attracting Startup Funding

Welcome to the final Module of Course 2. By concluding this Module your social venture will have reached an important milestone in the development process. This session will introduce you to the broad landscape of options you will face when designing the funding strategy for your social business. You will be encouraged to think about the financial needs of your venture and asked to create a plan of how to address those. Guided by insights from a social impact investor and researcher you will develop an elevator video pitch. This will be an important tool to attract startup funding. The final section of this module includes a special on the Impact Investing World Forum held in London in 2017, where Kai spoke to some practitioners who have some insights and good advice!

10 videos 4 readings 1 peer review 1 discussion prompt

10 videos • Total 61 minutes

  • Introduction to Module 5 | What Types of Investors can you look at? • 13 minutes • Preview module
  • The Growing Role of Impact Investing | Harry Hummels • 7 minutes
  • Impact Investing in India | Anirudh Agrawal • 5 minutes
  • Identify your Start-up Capital Needs as well as Possible Investors • 9 minutes
  • Assignment: Where can you look for Startup Capital? • 7 minutes
  • Assignment - It is Time for your Video Pitch • 2 minutes
  • Introduction | Kai Hockerts • 0 minutes
  • Interview with Cliff Prior | CEO of Big Society Capital • 5 minutes
  • Interview with Farrukh Khan | Acumen • 3 minutes
  • Interview with Rehana Nathoo | Case Foundation • 5 minutes

4 readings • Total 45 minutes

  • How to attract investment to your social enterprise • 20 minutes
  • Impact Investing: Two Top Advisors Point the Way • 10 minutes
  • Is Social Impact Investing The Next Venture Capital? • 5 minutes
  • A Short Guide To Impact Investment - The Case Foundation • 10 minutes

1 peer review • Total 300 minutes

  • Video Pitch - Final Course Project • 300 minutes
  • Where can you look for startup capital? • 15 minutes

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social entrepreneurship business plan examples

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Leonardo's Footprint: From Engineering to Anatomy

The microbiome, another vital organ, openmind books, scientific anniversaries, should the time children spend in front of screens be limited, featured author, latest book, value proposition in social entrepreneurship.

Why do we exist? One person asks another. Silence. What do we want to achieve? They ponder. What value are we trying to create? What problems, needs, goals do we want to help you solve, cover, answer or build?

They look at each other and nodding they murmur asynchronously: What is the heart of our social enterprise?

But the answer to this question, like most important questions in life, although intuitive, might not be easy to pin down, shape or articulate into words. So it needs to be pondered deeply, as we are only able to visualize it in this way.

The value proposition is the ultimate goal, the raison d’être or the telos of our business plan . It is about reflecting on who we want to be and why we want to be like this. Their response will require a deep knowledge of the recipients and will be key to addressing the issues of distribution, communication, partnerships, etc. Now, the value proposition , as the heart of the company, is not static but an organ that breathes and evolves: it adapts to changes in society. So we must define it, true, but not set it in stone. This will allow us to revisit and redefine it in the future.

There is a value proposition in every company, although it acquires special characteristics in the social enterprise. As a company, it camps in new terrain reminiscent of what Pine and Gilmore (1999) call economics of transformation . In this new territory, the qualities of a product, a service or even an experience, however good they may be, are not sufficient. Recipients of the social enterprise are not satisfied with the fact that the value proposition offered can improve their world but demand that they meet a higher purpose: they must contribute to improving the world.

To address the important challenge, we may have to change toolbox or perhaps, as noted by Professor Yunus “use these tools in a timely way” (Noeville, 2011:524). In any case, we consider that the following 10 instruments, in the form of principles, are key:

  • Creating a community and social network: the social enterprise has to promote a sense of community, whether physical or virtual. It has to take advantage of and enhance the network effect, at both a cognitive and emotional level.
  • Customer focused or customer centric: this involves making a special effort in getting to know customers, recipients, users, or “guests” in order to give them a differential treatment.
  • Customization, tuning and individualization: in a globalized world that is increasingly more homogeneous the individualization proposal is particularly relevant. From a more concrete level, customization means adapting to the specificities of customers or their tastes and needs, from a more abstract level, it opens the possibility that the recipient expresses its uniqueness, participating in the design or production process (co-production, co-creation and prosumerism).
  • Emotional connection: the recipient of the social enterprise is looking for something more than a mere economic transaction with the supplier. This customer is inspired by human contact and the desire to incorporate those responsible for the social project in its circle of reference or influence.
  • Transparency, consistency and integrity: in a world where anonymity is disappearing, the principle of transparency acquires an important social dimension, especially for recipients of the social enterprise. This group likes to be informed, is not easily influenced and places special value on consistency and personal integrity. Tolerant of human mistakes and forgetfulness, these individuals welcome sincere apologies but are relentless with deception and manipulation.
  • Sensitivity to the social context and mood: as a result of mobile technology and location aware computing, in the near future it will be possible to know the customer’s immediate geographical and time context. This will require that companies are able to adapt, be flexible and respond to the environment to a great extent. This fact will not only make it advisable to include accurate information on the value proposition circle of life but also be sensitive to the emotional context or general climate in which the social enterprise and the recipient is immersed.
  • Flexibility and generosity: flexibility in applying the rules governing the relationship between the company and customer is valued (this is what Trendwatching has called (f)ridig no more) and the generosity of companies (not necessarily understood as free and not necessarily directed to the recipient) as an expression of empathy and sensitivity to the context.
  • Balance between futurism and nostalgia: a good value proposition has to adapt to a dual time dimension. It must show some optimism towards the future (room for improvement and learning) but without forgetting the past, an opportunity to connect with affection and identity.
  • Distribution of information: this is to help recipients make informed decisions, giving them the choice between different possible alternatives and making them aware of their impact.
  • Open value proposition: this involves collaboration between several companies, so that the value proposition is the result of the combination of dialogue and participation between multiple players.

Yet, the social enterprise (when understood in this light) not only makes the entrepreneur become a “social innovator” but offers the recipient the opportunity to participate in social transformation . In other words, it provides them with the opportunity to overcome the consumer’s reductionist acceptance to recover the citizen’s liberating expression as a key player in the already promising economics of happiness.

Guía del emprendedor social de la Universidad Pontificia de Comillas

Noiville, F. (2011). Soy economista y os pido disculpas . Barcelona: Deusto.

Pine, B. J. y Gilmore, J. H. (1999). The Experience Economy. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Estela Díaz

Member of the E-SOST research group, Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid (Spain)

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