Social Enterprise Fundamentals – what have we learnt so far?

Friday 22 January 2021

In September 2020, supported by a grant from the Victorian Government’s Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, The Studio launched its Social Enterprise Fundamentals program. The Social Enterprise Fundamentals is a program of free videos, a workbook, workshops and resources that provide the ‘nuts and bolts’ of social enterprise for new and emerging social entrepreneurs.

We’re halfway through the online workshops, where social entrepreneurs are guided to build on their knowledge in small groups (you can register for Round 3 or 4 here!). Over 50 people interested in social enterprise have attended so far and as we get ready to run the final two rounds of workshops, we thought it was time to reflect on what we’ve learnt…

1. Back to basics

We developed the Fundamentals to be just that: fundamental to the social enterprise startup journey. The resources and workshops provide core social enterprise knowledge to help inform initial decisions around your social enterprise idea.

We cover basic definitions and types of social enterprise, defining your key problem and its impacts, and identifying the building blocks of your social enterprise business model. While these concepts may seem simple, we have found that spending more time upfront working through these elements and reflecting on their implications is beneficial in the long run.

“Thank you for running this accessible program, its much appreciated and provides individuals
with the foundational knowledge required to move forward.”

– Fundamentals workshop attendee

2. Turning ideas into practice

Developing a social enterprise is an iterative process and, at times, it can be easy to get stuck in the cycles of thinking and reflecting.

For that reason, the Fundamentals are developed to be practical. We have created a Workbook to accompany the videos and workshops, with 14 exercises to work through. The Workbook enables social entrepreneurs to apply learnings to their own social enterprise idea, covering problem definition to stakeholder mapping to estimating your costs and income,

“Great practical advice and exercises which imbed learning.”

– Fundamentals workshop attendee

Once people have got the Fundamentals down pat, we offer a more tailored support program designed to develop a social enterprise idea further to ‘get it off the ground’ called the Aviate Program. You can find out more here.

3. The power of community

We continually hear how beneficial it is to connect with people who are on a similar journey to you. Social enterprises operate within an ecosystem and startup can take several years – having the opportunity to collaborate with others (perhaps your new partner?), discuss your ideas or commiserate your challenges offers much needed support.

Over the four workshops scheduled in each round, attendees can meet and connect with others interested in or starting up their own social enterprise.

“Meeting with other like-minded people to start a social enteprise was very inspiring and valuable…
many of us work individually and can be the only person in an organisation who understands
this work, it is so beneficial to work alongside others who share the vision.”

– Fundamentals workshop attendee

If you are interested in joining the Social Enterprise Fundamentals, we are running two final rounds of workshops in February and April 2021. You can register for them here.

The Social Enterprise Fundamentals are generously supported by the Victorian Government’s Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.