The exciting thing about social entrepreneurship is that you have the ability to start from just a seed of an idea.
Social Enterprise WEA and the Seed of an Idea
Melinda Kramer had such an idea when she thought of Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA). Her seed of an idea involved connecting grassroots women environmental leaders to essential resources, training and advocacy. Through using her business management skills, Melinda was able to provide support to women all over the world.
There’s a useful article by Deborah Fleischer entitled: ‘Women’s Earth Alliance: Three Strategies for Growing a Successful Social Enterprise‘. It’s an easy-to-read guide about what you can do to transform your seed of an idea into a successful social enterprise. Deborah draws on observations of Melinda Kramer’s experiences building and growing WEA into an “extraordinary global organization.”
3 Tips to Starting Your Social Enteprise Success
In a nutshell, Deborah outlines the 3 major tips as follows:
- Find Passionate Leaders and Build a Strong Advisory Board
- Listen Before You Act
- Find the Right Partners
1 Fundamental: Teamwork
All three tips seem to focus on one major thing: the team dynamic of social enterprises.
This is evident in the following ways:
- Firstly, you have to find other passionate leaders, and work in alliance with them. You build a synergy with other social entrepreneurs and social leaders, drawing on their strengths and ideas.
- Secondly, you must involve people who will be affected by your social enterprise, and people who are deeply knowledgeable of the issue. In WEA’s case, it was about involving and listening to women in India, Afria and American Southwest.
- Thirdly, you should seek out other organizations that have a similar vision as your social enterprise. Link with them so that you’re both not overlapping in your roles. Connect with other partner organizations so that resources and time and energy are efficiently and effectively allocated. It also allows you to leverage your efforts, allowing your social enterprise to focus more on what it can do best.
Overall, social entrepreneurs must learn and develop their ability to work in a team.
As WEA’s example shows, a social enterprise may involve a multi-layered network of teamwork – from the team within your organization, and your relationship with the community, to partnering with related social enterprises locally and internationally. When it comes down to it, it involves have the ideal business management techniques to back your business up.