Social Entrepreneurship - Street Scholarship

Definition of Social Entrepreneurship

1. Creating something new in social or human services (i.e. youth quilting group or community garden).

2. Generating sustainable revenue that strengthens communities (i.e. selling the quilts or vegetables) – the more important movement.


1. Motivation/vision

2. Startup

3. Organization-building

What you should do – Do-it-yourself guide to social entrepreneurship

  1. Do LEAP ( or AmeriCorps ( 
    1. Desegregate – challenge-by-choice, find a multiracial, multi-class neighborhood where you can safely live and work. 
    2. Get involved with civic affairs
    3. Add economic value wherever you go; find community based organizations and businesses to support, work for, volunteer for, and help build – GET BIG!
    4. Wear out some work boots, work gloves, and a Home Depot card doing physical service in your neighborhood (Chad Pregracke).
    5. Give yourself a Street Scholarship in community building and social entrepreneurship.

Social Entrepreneurship on One Page – So You’ve Got an Idea for A Community-Building Organization

  1. Research & Mapping – read, read, read then write, write, write
    1. What else is out there in your community?  Locally, are you duplicating efforts?  Overlapping with other agencies?  Nestling nicely in a niche that can be complementary to an existing agency?  Should you be a program of an existing or larger organization (yes is a good start here)?
    2. What else is out there elsewhere?  Are there other org’s in your state that do the same or similar things that you are proposing?  Is there a national model you want to emulate?  Is there an international equivalent (i.e. if you are interested in micro-business, what parallels are there in international programs?
    3. What potential partnerships exist? Can you find an org that will provide office space (a local college or church)?  A fiduciary host? (know what this means)  Can you make deals with org’s working in the same communities or with the same clients?  As you discover others in the game and potential partners, develop a visual map (i.e. a word web) identifying the connections and relationships that your organization will have with each of them.   
    4. How will you pay the bills?  What are the different potential revenue streams for your venture?  What grant possibilities are there?  Government contracts? Who can you think of that will give you money to get this thing off the ground (make a list)?  How long does it take for funding to come down the pike once your grant is approved (you have to build cash flow into your operating model)?
      1. Good starting places:, The Foundation Center.
    5. What licenses and credentials will you need to get started?  What insurance, and at what cost (keep your driving record and credit record clean because for the first two years, your org’s ability to get credit and vehicle insurance will be dependent on your own personal data)?  Will you incorporate and apply for 501(c)(3) status or find a fiduciary (start with the latter)?
  2. Networking – talk, talk, talk
    1. Get Big – Business Cards, letterhead, website, phone answering machine, mailing address (P.O. Box), checking account, health care at or through your parents if you’re <23; 1 page fact sheet & 3-page position paper.
    2. Get the Word out – Make a list of 50 people to talk to about your idea: mentors, parents, friends, people in the field – and ask them what they think and what else you should do to get going.
      1. At the end of each conversation, ask who else you can talk to and whether you can use this person as a referral in opening new doors
      2. Build your Board of Directors or Board of Advisors (if you’re not yet official or incorporated) by asking people to serve.
  3. Business Planning – plan, plan, plan – you must write a business plan
    1. Find a local resource to help with information and/or advice (i.e. City Business Development office, Small Business Resource Center, Chamber of Commerce, business school, community college).
    2. Use the library for books that provide guidance.
    3. Basic Outline: Executive Summary, Operations Plan (what will you do and how will it work?), Marketing Plan (How will you get the word out, and how will you distinguish from other org’s and services?), Budget and Financial Plan (use spreadsheets, include fundraising strategy), appendices (fiduciary or 501(c)(3) status, bylaws, Board of Directors, resumes, funding commitments).