The former Center for Social Enterprise Development will offer comprehensive services to help social entrepreneurship through outreach and communication, training, and access to capital.
(COLUMBUS, OH)—SocialVentures, an organization that creates and connects community resources to businesses that create social impact, has announced several new offerings designed to provide the resources social entrepreneurs need to grow and thrive in Central Ohio.
“SocialVentures advocates for, develops, and funds businesses that seek to address social problems in our community,” said Allen Proctor, President & CEO of SocialVentures. “Our new name reflects our renewed focus and response to the growing movement dedicated to innovation and social progress here in Central Ohio.”
Proctor said the service offerings help social enterprises in three distinct ways.
Outreach and Advocacy:
SocialVentures is a platform for social entrepreneurs to better connect with consumers, volunteers, investors, and donors. Sara Parker, Marketing Director for SocialVentures, said the online Marketplace lists approximately 100 Central Ohio social enterprises to inform consumers, funders, impact investors and individual donors of investment-worthy causes.
“These businesses offer a variety of products and services. Whether you are purchasing a service for your home, buying products for your children, or looking to grow your business, choosing to buy from this sector results in the creation of positive social impact right here in our community,” Parker said.
SocialVentures offers an extensive range of programs to give entrepreneurs knowledge, skills, and advice to help their businesses thrive. A special series for nonprofits includes three introductory seminars and SE Catalyst, an eight-month intensive accelerator to give nonprofits the extra support they may need to develop revenue-generating initiatives to support their nonprofit missions.
“Direct access to one-on-one sessions with subject matter experts and hands-on workshops will sharpen skills so that social entrepreneurs can better compete, and ultimately thrive financially, while making meaningful and measurable social impact,” said Molly Tafrate, Vice President of SocialVentures.
Tafrate said the training will include, but not be limited to Expert Evaluation sessions in marketing and business plans, a four-part marketing series, and three seminars on measuring and sustaining social impact. Additionally, SocialVentures is collaborating with Lextant, Rev1 Ventures, and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business to offer additional pro bono support to social entrepreneurs.
“A recent study by the Cardinal Health LEAD program shows donors want a more hands-on role in helping social enterprises,” said Elaine Grogan Luttrull, Board Chair of SocialVentures. “Our new service offerings enable investors and donors to build personal relationships with these social enterprises and the people they serve.”
Access to Capital:
Connecting angel and early-stage investors to local social enterprises is a major goal of SocialVentures. Through the new website and networking, SocialVentures connects local social entrepreneurs to information on impact investing basics and to appropriate sources of capital.
“Access to capital empowers social entrepreneurs to scale more quickly to a sustainable state,” said Ben Lagemann, Chair of SocialVentures’ Investment Committee.
To expand and facilitate involvement in social enterprise investment, SocialVentures manages Social Ventures Fund, LLC, a member-based private fund for accredited individuals, companies, and foundations to invest in local growth stage social enterprises. Lagemann distinguishes this from charitable donations. Social enterprise investing offers capital to companies and organizations, just like angel investing, seed investing, or venture capital.
“Social Ventures Fund, LLC, offers something distinctive for Central Ohio investors. The main difference between social enterprise investing and other forms of investing is that each Social Ventures Fund, LLC investment must offer financial return AND a measurable social impact within Central Ohio,” Lagemann said. “This builds relationships that will grow and sustain the community for generations to come.”
SocialVentures is also working with the Better Business Bureau to develop an easy to access social enterprise validation program.
“Now more than ever, people want to see how their hard-earned dollars are being used to make the region and world a better place to live,” said Kip Morse, President of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio. “There’s no better way to offer this transparency than collaborating jointly with an established organization like the Better Business Bureau.
Entrepreneurs, business leaders and the community can learn more about SocialVentures and the impact of the social enterprise sector at the 2017 Positioned To Prosper, taking place Tuesday, August 15 at the Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St. SocialVentures will simultaneously release its third annual report on the progress of social enterprise in Central Ohio, showcase first-hand accounts of social entrepreneurs and highlight SocialVentures’ new service offerings.
SocialVentures advances remarkably good businesses that intentionally integrate social impact as a non-negotiable component of their business model. Founded as the Center for Social Enterprise Development in June 2014, SocialVentures aims to develop and sustain a thriving ecosystem that supports social enterprises and social entrepreneurs from initial concept to sustained financial viability and creation of significant social impact.