In previous blogs we have mentioned the variety of motivations that bring people to social action. While almost everyone is in some way unique they are usually a blend of some different traits.

There is the motivation simply to act where the alternate is personally unacceptable. For others it is simply the need to bring awareness to others, not necessarily to directly solve, an advocacy role as I would describe it. Others set out to create a viable, sometimes commercial, entity but one with a social purpose or approach that is essential for them. Others may simply be searching for an ability to contribute to something that is meaningful to them.

Each of these may, by default, find themselves as a social entrepreneur. When in the throes of that journey some may find there are skill gaps that are critical to them. Others may struggle with the isolation of that journey and other personal tolls that it demands of them. Some may even have had the role pushed onto them.

Through the entire process of last year we encountered people with all the variable mixes of these characteristics. The BNest Incubator works best for those with an establish enterprise they wish to stabilise or scale, for those with a clear concept which they want to evolve into an enterprise or for those seeking to test the viability of a concept.

1-Day workshop

In preparing for this year we thought it would be useful to offer a simple workshop to help people active in the social space understand for themselves a little more of where they might be. So, we have created a workshop “Social Enterprise – a path for you?” as a means of doing this.

In putting it together it was interesting in what we believed it should contain. It does not deal with financial models, marketing approaches, business plans or similar items. These are essential, but these are tools, techniques and methodologies that you may need, when you know what path you are on.

What the workshop is about is giving people a chance to take stock of where they are. We are doing this by providing an insight into the dual journeys a social enterprise consists of.

The first journey

The first journey is about dealing with the “Challenge” you seek to solve, aimed at helping a person contemplating action understand a little more of that challenge. To us what matters here is learning how to engage with the variety of people you will encounter, to understand the landscape you will find yourself in and how to influence constructive change even among those who are resistant. We also look at how the challenge of finding viability can be met. All of this is the enterprise journey.

The second journey

The second journey you face is your personal one as the potential founder. To succeed there is a need for a degree of self awareness, to know your own strengths and personal challenges, to understand how the personal journey may impact upon you and how to prepare yourself for the resilience this might require of you.

The third part

These two journeys are very much intertwined in a social enterprise start-up. The outcomes in one hugely impacting the outcomes of the other. So the third part of what we are doing is about helping you see how this interaction might work, by letting others who have been and are going through those journeys tell you a little of their experiences.

Our hope in doing this is that whatever the path you might subsequently take on social enterprise, be it from advocacy to start-up, there is something within this workshop that you will find useful.