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Aug 20, 2015

New Momentum in Social Enterprise in Central Ohio

Last week the Center for Social Enterprise celebrated its first year of existence with a report on the enormous change in the social enterprise ecosystem over the past year.  Its report, The State of Social Enterprise in Central Ohio, recounted the increase in sponsors, startup players, events, capital, media coverage, and social enterprises.  You can download the report here.

One of the most exciting efforts by the Center this past year has been to identify local organizations who consider themselves to be social enterprises. The initial list included 29 names. That list has expanded to include more than 70 organizations and continues to grow. We have now posted an online Social Enterprise Directory that lists the organizations we have identified to date, organized by their product or service with links to their websites. If you know of an organization not on this list, please contact me. We are also producing profiles for each social enterprise which are highlighted in the directory.   Learn about them—and give them your business!

We also announced more changes for the coming year:

The Center has revamped its workshops to focus on specialized topics like market research, pricing, financial projections, and selling.  Initial workshops are September 8, October 13, and November 12.

We have launched a networking event for social entrepreneurs called PLUG-IN.  First event is September 17 from 6-8pm at Roosevelt Coffeehouse, 300 E. Long Street Columbus, OH 43215. The purpose is to meet other social entrepreneurs, compare notes, get help and ideas.  For this first event our topic will be “Scaling Your Social Enterprise” and we are excited to invite Merry Korn of Pearl Interactive Network who has built her Westerville-based social enterprise into a $12.5 million business in 23 states.  We will evolve the topics based on the needs and interests of everyone there.  The PLUG-IN is open to all but you need to be listed in the Center’s online directory to get notices of upcoming PLUG-IN’s.

The popular grassroots funding event ColumbusSOUP will feature social entrepreneurship at its next event November 15.  The Center will help coach the applicants on their presentations, culminating with SOUP’s hundreds of attendees voting on an up-to-$1500 grant to a social entrepreneur.  This event will be a huge step forward in building awareness of social enterprise across a wider swath of the community.

An exploratory committee formed by the Center has unanimously decided to invite the Pipeline Fellowship to bring its program to Columbus in January 2016.  Operating in 16 cities, this program introduces accredited women investors to angel investing in social enterprises and culminates with a Pitch Summit which invites women entrepreneurs to present their for-profit social ventures for a chance to secure funding.  This is a wonderful opportunity for women leaders  to learn how investment, and not just charity, can create social impact on the challenges facing our communities.

Want to get more involved in social enterprise?  Here are some of the ways you can make social enterprise a significant component of our economy:
    Support the CSED by becoming a donor.
    Become a mentor to a social entrepreneur.
    Attend and support events that celebrate social enterprise by subscribing to News from the Center for Social Enterprise Development.
    Use your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and other social networks to let your friends know about the social enterprises you like (we tweet from @CSEDcentralOH).
    Encourage the nonprofits you support to learn more about social enterprise and how they can use it to become more self-sustainable.
    Check out our online Social Enterprise Directory and check in regularly  to see the expanding set of profiles of the social enterprises in our community—and give them your business.

Yours in Linking Mission to Money,

Allen Proctor, President, Center for Social Enterprise Development