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Feb 17, 2016

Six Critical Elements in Putting Together a New Social Enterprise

A number of local efforts are launching that are intended to help entrepreneurs develop their social impact concepts into viable businesses.  This brought to mind a useful article in last summer, authored by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council. While written in the context of how to build a pitch deck to attract investors, it is as much an excellent outline of the factors that are critical to making a social enterprise business successful.  It is reproduced in its entirety below.  Check out the authors of each recommendation.

Also be sure to check out all that is going on with social enterprises in Central Ohio through our regular Facebook updates and our online directory of active social enterprises in our region.

Allen Proctor, President & CEO, Center for Social Enterprise Development


A value proposition

“The crux of any business pitch is value creation. Your value proposition must be strong and well communicated in order to get buy in. Not only does it have to be believable, but it must provide enough value to create demand.” — Steven Newlon| SYN3RGY Creative Group

A risk mitigation plan

“All the VCs I have interacted with so far absolutely want this critical piece in the deck. All pitch decks have the value proposition. But VCs also need to know the risks involved with your idea and your plan to deal with them. If you don’t include this component, they will assume you have not thought through the plan.” — Ashu Dubey| 12 Labs

Economic value

“Revenue is king. Without it, you are running a vanity project. For some it’s obvious: we sell X to Y. For others it’s more of a concern, and saying “we will advertise” is meaningless. Investors want to know how you make your company valuable. If your goal is just to get 100 million users and get acquired, you’ll see blank faces and no call back. The time of betting on pure social plays and hoping has passed.” — Ben Gamble| See Through

A problem you’re solving

“Too often pitch decks fail to answer the fundamental question of what problem your business solves for your customers. If you put in nothing else, put in that.” — Lisa Curtis| Kuli Kuli

Growth numbers

“An absolute must for every startup pitch deck is to include growth numbers of users and the many ways to scale your growth over time. Investors see a million different opportunities every day, and the ones with proven statistics and future projections will gain the most attention. The best way to put investor money to work is to invest in a formula that works and just needs money to scale.” — Zac Johnson|


“Aside from the value proposition and a clear strategy, the deck must have enough information about the industry, and a good reason why now is the time to invest in this particular venture. Whether it is an undeveloped market and you have a break-through product/service, or a market that is booming and you predict an organic demand for what you offer, it must be clear that your idea is relevant.” — Elena Kosharny| FIVE AM INC