By Traci Shoblom
How do you go about starting a social enterprise? Don’t you need a lot of business experience? Can a regular person really do this?
This is Amy. She is really concerned about the number of teenagers who can’t read basic English. She is also concerned about the number of elderly people in her community who are alone and lonely.
Amy has an idea to start a business that hires elderly people to teach basic reading skills to teenagers. She knows that she needs to have some money in order to start the business, and realizes that she needs to increase her “capital literacy.” Capital literacy is the ability to recognize, create, and develop the various forms of capital. The word capital can mean money or a thing that can help a person do their work.
The first thing Amy needs to do is to write out a business plan so that she can know how much capital she’s going to need. For example, she’s going to need some books, to start. And she’ll need to find a way to get the teenagers to the elderly reading teachers.
After writing out her business plan, Amy needs to find a team of people willing to help. She’ll need elderly reading teachers. But she’ll also need someone to help her with sales and marketing, she’ll need someone to raise money, handle the finances and accounting, run the office and manage the staff.
Perhaps the most important thing that Amy—or anyone —can do when thinking of starting a social enterprise—is to stay passionate. It takes hard work to start a social enterprise. But if you stay focused on the good you are doing and making a difference, you can change the world.