The Studio Principles

All we do in The Social Startup Studio, and how we do it, is guided by our Principles. These Principles are informed by our and other’s research; drawing on the expertise of practitioners and the emerging knowledge base of social enterprise theory and practice. The Principles guide and inform our Studio Approach.

Hybridity is key

Social enterprises are hybrid organisations – commercial approaches are used to address a social problem. Hybridity results in tensions and challenges that non-hybrid organisations don’t experience. Our approach is driven by the need to acknowledge the unique challenges and opportunities of social enterprise hybridity; ways that are specifically designed for social enterprise.

Strategy as practice

Business strategy and planning doesn’t ever stop. It’s a process of planning, doing, learning and adjusting. In The Social Startup Studio, we see the dichotomy between planning and doing as a false one; our approach is to guide you towards reflective and adaptive development of an impactful and sustainable social enterprise.

With not for

In The Social Startup Studio, we build a community of practice around each social enterprise, aimed at testing, refining and developing. We guide, critique and advise; but we are not consultants – we work with early-stage social enterprises (not for them) to build learning organisations.


Social enterprise is an emerging field and as such there is lots about it that we don’t know yet. At the same time, over the last decade, there have been many studies of social enterprises that are useful to inform practice. In The Studio, we aim for all we do to be informed by, and go on to further inform, the evidence base that is emerging to progress social enterprise practice.

Open knowledge

At the same time as supporting early-stage social enterprises, we undertake research to gather more knowledge about what works and doesn’t work. We then share publicly and freely to grow and strengthen the social enterprise ecosystem.