Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a 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.
- In what industries are social enterprises often found?
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.
- Are social enterprises for-profit or non-profit?
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.
- What is the difference between a social enterprise and an ethical business?
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.
- What is social return on investment (SROI)?
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.
- Is my business a social enterprise?
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!
- What forms of funding can a social enterprise receive?
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.
- What is SocialVentures?
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.
- What does SocialVentures have to offer for my business?
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.
- Where can I find information on social enterprises in Columbus?
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.
- How can I get in contact with certain social enterprises from specific industries?
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.
- How big is the social enterprise community in central Ohio?
This number is always fluctuating as the state of the economy changes as well as new companies being created. See the Marketplace.
- Are there any events coming up where I can learn more about social enterprise in Columbus?
Visit our events page.
- I’m interested in starting my own social enterprise, can you help?
We would love to learn more about your goals and aspirations for creating social good through a business setting! Contact us.
- Are there any quick resources or company information available for startups and small businesses in Columbus?
- Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI) – Business plan advice, technical assistance, financial support.
- Ohio Small Business Development Center – Business plan advice, financial analysis, market research, and technical assistance
- Rev1 Ventures – Market analysis and investing solutions –
- Slow Money Central Ohio – Low interest loans for farm and food-based businesses.
- Sundown Rundown – Small business seminars and pitch feedback
- Innovate New Albany – Incubator for small businesses and startups, offering seminars and providing several resources to entrepreneurs
- Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com, and Kiva.org
- Can I start a business if I have bad credit?
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.
- What are the benefits of self employment?
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.
- Is Quickbooks good enough for my accounting? Do I need something like Quickbooks rather than use a spreadsheet?
- What is an income statement?
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.
- What is a balance sheet?
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.
- What is a statement of cash flows?
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.
- How do I establish a good price for my product or service?
Learn more about pricing a product.
- Where do I find information about business structures?
Visit SBA.gov for more information.
- Should my business be nonprofit or for-profit? What difference does it make?
This depends on the goals and aspirations for the outcome of your company. Read more.
- What is an elevator pitch?
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.
- Is the name I’ve chosen for my business available? How do I find out?
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.
- What is an EIN?
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.