Social enterprise – four rules for start up

Planting the seeds of social enterprise

Is a social enterprise in your dreams? In this guest post, Daniel Frank of GiveACar shares some tips for planting the seeds of a social enterprise.  Giveacar is a social enterprise that allows you to donate your old car, just as you might donate possessions to a charity shop. Its goals are simple – to raise as much money as possible for registered charities and to recycle cars to the highest environmental standards.

Social Enterprise [soh-shuhl en-ter-prahyz] – verb

1.      A Social Enterprise is any for-profit or non-profit organization that applies capitalistic strategies to achieving philanthropic goals.
Ok, so now that we’ve got the definition out of the way let’s get down to the nitty gritty details of how to start and run a successful social enterprise. But firstly, let me briefly tell you about myself and my experiences with social enterprises.
Basically, I am currently employed by a social enterprise in the UK called Giveacar, which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for hundreds of charities through the scrappage an auctioning of unwanted scrap cars. I have first-hand experience of how social enterprises operate on a daily basis and I would now like to pass this information on to you.
Rule 1# – Follow Your Passion
Running a social enterprise is a tough business and it’s only going to be successful if you’re doing what you love. Find what your passion in life is and make it the core function of your social enterprise. Giveacar founder Tom Chance was obsessed with cars; he would sell cars whilst at university so it was a no brainer for him to start a social enterprise whose core business is cars. If your hobby is also your ‘job’, you will rarely feel like you’re ‘working’ and success will follow.
Rule 2# Utilise the Benefits that come with Social Enterprises
A lot has been written about the failure rate of social enterprises, some concluding that they have not lived up to their promise. The key is to take advantage of the powerful set of factors that are available to social enterprises and not to your standard business. For example, the mission can create a strong marketing proposition which will appeal to many people, whilst social entrepreneurs have a greater chance of attracting like-minded talented workers which should help your social enterprise grow.
Rule 3# Take Advantage of Corporate Social Responsibility
These days every large businesses is so concerned about their public image that they’re spending huge sums of money on CSR just to get on the good side of the public. Being a social enterprise means that you can take full advantage of this. Get in contact with the large businesses in your area and see if they can help you out. Maybe they can provide you with some free equipment, business advice, or maybe they might give you a donation to help run your social enterprise.
Rule 4# Survive Long Enough to Get Lucky
Your job is to make sure that your social enterprise lives to fight another day, every day. If you do this enough times, then with the power of your social mission and your passion towards making a difference, your break will come.