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FAQs

Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise (n.): an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for shareholders. An important element of a social enterprise is having a measurable social impact.

A social enterprise can be found in almost every industry from home care to legal and professional services. We have found that most Columbus native social enterprises are within the food and drink category. You can find out more about these industries in our marketplace.

A social enterprise can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit and may take a number of legal forms, including but not limited to co-operative, benefit corporation, low-profit limited liability company (L3C), LLC, or a subsidiary of an existing company. Non-profit and for-profit are simply labels for an organization’s legal structure.

While the two are very similar business practices, there is a very distinct difference. A social enterprise is focused on promoting a common, social good, and has a measurable social impact. On the other hand, an ethical business is focused on simply minimizing the amount of negative impact produced, such as decreasing CO2 emissions or sourcing fair-trade products.

SROI is a metric used within the social enterprise industry and many other sectors which incorporates environmental, societal, economic, and other impact measures into a single metric. While the number derived from an SROI is not on a universal, it is used to find if the societal and social outcomes are beneficial or profitable.

This will be evident in your mission statement and purpose for existing. If you have devoted a portion of your business strategy to promoting a social good, then you may be a social enterprise. We would love to hear about your business and help you develop within the social enterprise sector!

Contact us.

The type of funding a social enterprise can receive depends on the legal structure. Those organized as for-profits can accept investments and loans whereas non-profit organizations are eligible for foundation grants. If you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

SocialVentures / Columbus

Founded as the Center for Social Enterprise Development in June 2014, SocialVentures is dedicated to developing a thriving ecosystem that supports social enterprises and social entrepreneurs from initial concept through to sustained financial viability and creation of significant social impact.

Contact us! If you believe you are a social enterprise, then head over to our Marketplace and fill out your profile information. Also check out the multitude of social enterprise events in the local community.

At SocialVentures we have three main pillars: Advocacy, Education & Access to Capital. We aim to help develop the entire Social Enterprise community in central Ohio. We offer programs led by established social enterprise leaders including social media marketing development, partnerships with 6Sigma at Ohio State, and even the process of building social enterprise within a non-profit organization to decrease reliance on donations. Check out our Marketplace for a listing of all social enterprises, and our workshop page to see upcoming programs.

Our annual report on The State of Social Enterprise focuses on the development within the current year while highlighting some of the biggest achievements by social enterprises. To learn more about specific companies or impact areas, our marketplace offers information on the goals, impact areas, and how to get involved with the companies here in Columbus.

By clicking on the company’s picture in the marketplace, you will be directed to the company’s social enterprise profile which will include the company’s website as well as contact information.

This number is always fluctuating as the state of the economy changes as well as new companies being created. See the Marketplace.

Visit our events page.

We would love to learn more about your goals and aspirations for creating social good through a business setting! Contact us.

Financial Considerations

While getting loan loan offers may be few and far between with a low credit score, there are many other forms of funding that can help you startup your business including personal investors, small business loans, grants, and government funding.

Find your credit score here.

The benefits vary from person to person, but some benefits include independence, control over all business practices, and financial rewards such as tax benefits and control over pricing.

Read more here.

An income statement is a financial statement that reports a company’s financial performance over a specific accounting period. Financial performance is assessed by giving a summary of how the business incurs its revenues and expenses through both operating and non-operating activities. It also shows the net profit or loss incurred over a specific accounting period. Read more.

A balance sheet is a financial statement that summarizes a company’s assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity at a specific point in time. These three balance sheet segments give investors an idea as to what the company owns and owes, as well as the amount invested by shareholders. Read more.

Complementing the balance sheet and income statement, the cash flow statement (CFS) – a mandatory part of a company’s financial reports since 1987 – records the amount of cash and cash equivalents entering and leaving a company. The CFS allows investors to understand how a company’s operations are running, where its money is coming from, and how it is being spent. Here you will learn how the CFS is structured, and how to use it as part of your analysis of a company. Read more.

Learn more about pricing a product.

Business Startup

Visit SBA.gov for more information.

This depends on the goals and aspirations for the outcome of your company. Read more

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use them to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. They should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organization, product, or idea – unique.

Once you’ve decided on a name, perform a search on the U.S. Patent and Trade Office’s (USPTO) database of registered trademarks. Finally, search business name registers, which can be found by entering the phrase “business name register” in any major search engine.

An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. It’s used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns. Read more.

Visit irs.gov to learn more.

Videos

Center for Social Enterprise Development: Nonprofit Sustainability Showcase Highlights 2016

The Center for Social Enterprise Development (CSED) hosted its first Nonprofit Sustainability Showcase on October 25, 2016. Five nonprofits (Boys & Girls Clubs Columbus, Community Shares of Mid Ohio, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, Gladden Community House and IMPACT Community Action) completed Columbus’ first eight-month SE Catalyst immersion initiative, and presented their business concepts to leadership from local nonprofits and foundations.

Columbus Business First’s 2012 Corporate Caring Awards

On April 19, 2012, Allen Proctor delivered the keynote at Columbus Business First’s Corporate Caring Awards Luncheon. He introduced the concept of social enterprise, and advocated for increased corporate support through this new model by incorporating capital investment and business planning support for nonprofits seeking ways to earn revenue, in addition to corporations’ traditional volunteering and philanthropy initiatives.

2011 TEDx Claremont Colleges: “A Vision for Successful Nonprofits”

In this presentation, Allen Proctor explores the expectations that society has for the nonprofit sector to be reliable providers of community resources to meet community needs—while (and because) the for-profit sector can’t provide those solutions without losing money. He challenges the audience to consider the different sets of criteria that nonprofits require in order to be successful.

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Council on Foundations Joint Conference CEO/Trustee Dinner - November 1, 2012

Allen Proctor discusses bridging the differences among donors, foundations and nonprofits. From criticism related to overhead and fundraising expenses to demonstrating impact and return on investment, the pressure is immense. But consistently aligning our resources with the core community needs that inspired nonprofits’ missions must remain at the forefront of our focus to affect positive change in the social sector.

Columbus Foundation 2011: “Nonprofit as Profit Earning Entity”

In this segment, Allen Proctor illustrates through financial and employment statistics during the recent recession that while the needs of the community fluctuate dramatically, nonprofit contributions have remained stagnant since the 1980s. These points underscore his main point, that in order to continue to meet the demands of the community, nonprofits will need to seek other methods of generating revenue.

Ohio Latino and Hispanic Affairs Commission June 2015: “New Approaches to Serving Our Communities: Social Enterprise”

In this introduction to the concept of social enterprise, Allen Proctor provides specific examples of mission-money challenges that nonprofits frequently face, and how social enterprise is on the rise to address these challenges.

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