2 MIN READ
Date Posted: 16 December 2014
The latest blog from Maryanne Matthews, chief executive of the EY Foundation. This month she talks about the importance of skills capital to social entrepreneurs when growing a venture and creating profit for good.
Social enterprises are vital to addressing some of the most entrenched social issues in our communities today, but the day-to-day business challenges they face are no different to any other entrepreneur – and that includes making money: vital to becoming a long-term force for change.
As EY Foundation trustee Nathaniel Peat, himself a social entrepreneur (founder of The Safety Box and co-founder of Gennex), says: “You’ve got to be driven by profit and it’s not bad to say profit. But start with the model of do good, have fun and then make money.”
Lack of business expertise is commonly cited as one of the top three challenges facing social entrepreneurs in the market today. Successfully turning purpose into profit requires a good understanding of the key financial levers that impact on a business, from financial forecasting to cash flows and pricing.
Bridging the business expertise gap requires social entrepreneurs to build the right support around them from a range of people with a diverse set of skills. What Sam Conniff, founder and Chairman of Livity (also trustee of the EY Foundation) terms as “your own personal board”.
There’s certainly no shortage of people willing to give their time to support the growth of a social enterprise. Yet social entrepreneurs regularly say they struggle to know where to go to make the right connections. What they really need is support throughout their journey that is reflective to their needs at particular stages of growth, without having to navigate the support landscape as their requirements change.
We have listened to these needs and in the New Year we’re re-launching our Accelerate programme: an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to access business and finance expertise. Through Accelerate we are creating an ecosystem of businesses of all sizes that can support social enterprises to grow
The programme provides up to 18 months of business support to young social entrepreneurs (18-30) and social enterprises which support other entrepreneurs or young people into education, employment and enterprise.
Applications for our London 2015 programme are now open. So if you meet the criteria apply today and benefit from being matched to a business coach who can help you turn purpose into profit.