5 Toolkits for Social Enterprise

On-demand resources that will help you with feasibility studies, market assessment, financial forecasting, intellectual property rights and even payroll management for your social enterprise.
 

October 12, 2015

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
– African Proverb

If you’re running a social enterprise, or about to start one, welcome to the community. It can be hard to know where to begin or decide what's next when building a social enterprise. +Acumen courses provide context and hands-on exercises to get you started in the field of social entrepreneurship.

We’ve gathered a list of resources, created by our peers, that that offer templates and downloadable Excel files to help you execute your ideas. These on-demand resources will help you with feasibility studies, market assessment, financial forecasting, intellectual property rights and even payroll management for your social enterprise.

Use these 5 resources to complement our +Acumen social enterprise startup courses: 

 1. Social Enterprise Canada Toolkit:

Best for:

  • Non-profits thinking about creating social enterprise models
  • Founders looking to start a social enterprise in Canada

Go to Resource

Description:

Social Enterprise Canada has built tools to walk you through concrete steps associated with all stages of social enterprise development from planning to managing a social enterprise.  They also have resources to help those interested in purchasing from social enterprises and measuring the collective impact of the sector.

Our favorite tool:

Detailed worksheets to help you walk through cash flow projections and assess the feasibility of your business concept.

2. REDFWorkshop.org Tools

Best for:

  • People looking for a sequential approach to building a social enterprise. You can’t skip most of the steps so be prepared to work through the tools with your team in an ordered way.
  • People focused on social enterprise models for employment generation

Go to Resource

Description:

REDF compiles an excellent REDFworkshop page with a section on social enterprise tools. Once you get through a quick registration, you’ll have access to a free set of interactive materials that will help you generate ideas, complete a business model canvas, and create a marketing and financial plan.  Their forms are dynamic and move you from step to step so that you can navigate spreadsheets with ease. REDF is a non-profit creating jobs and opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work.

Our favorite tool:

A downloadable financial plan spreadsheet.

3. MaRS Entrepreneur’s Toolkit

Best for:

  • Later stage social entrepreneurs who are ready to get into the nuts and bolts of running and scaling their business

Go to Resource

Description:

MaRS isn’t exclusively focused on social enterprise development, but they offer a “Collections” section and an “Entrepreneurship 101” library full of great downloadable tools to help you plan for a business and get it off the ground.  Collections focus on themes like “Founders’ Challenges”; “Intellectual Property”; “Accounting”; and “Governance.” This one-stop-shop will provide you with scripts and templates to navigate some of the thorniest parts of setting up your social enterprise.

Our favorite tools:

The MaRS overview of Social Enterprise Business Models and this Collection on Founders’ Challenges.

4. SE Toolbelt

Best for:

  • People who are trying to find specific resources in the social enterprise space and want to search by topic or keyword
  • Those looking for resources in other languages including Arabic, Portuguese, French and Spanish

Go to Resource

Description:

This online social entrepreneurship hub curated by Virtue Ventures provides a comprehensive listing of social enterprise resources by topic area.  They also have some excellent frameworks they authored themselves.

Our favorite tool:

The 4 Lenses Strategic Framework for Classifying Social Enterprises.

5. UnLtd: A Comprehensive Guide to Developing Your Social Enterprise

Best for:

  • People who want some background reading or additional context on particular parts or stages of their social enterprise

Go to Resource

Description:

This toolkit offers practical guidance and working models for every stage of social entreprise from initial idea, setup and piloting, on to longer term sustainability, growth and replication.  We especially like the interactive matrix that then directs you to relevant, downloadable PDFs depending on the stage of your business.

Our favorite tool:

The Social entrepreneurship matrix.

Our Social Entrepreneurship 101 course offers modules and tools to get your started. Check out the course here. Have you stumbled across another resource you think we should know about, email it to us at courses@plusacumen.org.

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