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Last week I had the pleasure to co-coach a workshop with social entrepreneurs in the Rhein Neckar Metropolitan Area, taking place in the Alte Feuerwache in Mannheim.

We had five highly motivated teams with very interesting ideas ("Knastbewusst" working with women in imprisonment on demand, "Each1Teach1" connecting Germans with refugees, "Geschult" helping teachers on stress reduction, "Crowdhelden" combining crowdfunding with personal social engagement, and "Kompostkönige" composting and selling waste from Uganda).

Every team has its own challenges and successes. We worked in the teams on "Road to Success - How to implement the Business Model", finally pitching publically in the Alte Feuerwache.

I was wondering how tools coming from the world of economic Business, for instance the Business Model Canvas with the Value Proposition and the Customer perspectives, work for for social businesses. I found some answers, which reconfirmed my previous experiences - I'd like to share them with you:

  • Forget Business talk and examples. Speak in the language social startups understand- Social Business have beneficiaries, not only (paying) customers.
  • Maximizing economic success is not necessarily the top goal. Your value proposition, revenue stream and cost structure should comprise the combination of being economically successful and socially relevant
  • What is your contribution making the world a better place?
  • What do you want to do with your surplus you earn?

What's your experience with social entrepreneurs?