O.N.E. Social Enterprise Partnership Program Toolkit

Welcome to the O.N.E. Social Enterprise Program

Do you want to follow your passion to create a business that puts people and planet first? You are not alone.

This Toolkit is created for Small Business Consultants across the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.

Use this resource as quick reference to help any social entrepreneur across Ontario to get to impact, mitigate risk, and achieve a sustainable business.

In this Toolkit you will gain insights to define, adapt, and launch your enterprise solution for a social and/or ecological problem you are seeking to solve.

Social Enterprise Checklist

Are you a social enterprise?

Use this checklist to help determine if the venture you are working with is a social enterprise or has potential to grow their business proposition with the intention to place people and planet first.

A social enterprise:

  1. Can be for-profit or not-for-profit entities, they may be B-Corps (but don’t have to be)
  2. Places social / ecological impact as core to the business strategy
  3. Impacts cannot be secondary to the purpose of the enterprise
  4. Provides financial returns
  5. Measures their results and, as their business grows, so does their social impact

At their best, a social enterprise considers impact throughout the fullness of their operations including their supply chain, internal processes, governance, environmental footprint, and community engagement.

Are you built for the future?

Did you know that adopting social and environmental objectives into your core business opens opportunities for growth while making the world a better place.

Companies that have a social and environmental objectives gain new customers, create brand trust, and attract top talent. These companies:

Social Enterprise Quick Guides

Brought to you by the Ryerson Social Venture Zone

A challenge facing social innovators (and, indeed, innovators of all types) is that they often leap to a solution without having properly researched and defined the problem. This can negatively impact the venture at later stages, where issues that should have been known much earlier can cause significant delays or even stop the venture in its tracks.

The Ideation Workshop will help innovators further refine their ideas to create a viable social enterprise. Using tools and worksheets developed by Alex Gill, Director and co-founder of the Ryerson Social Venture Zone, participants will work through their ideas using a range of methodologies. Users of the interactive worksheets will perform a range of foundational work that is key to separating the knowledge of the problem from the tools to solve it. You can use this process to help validate your idea and ensure you are truly solving a social problem, rather than trying to fit a problem into a solution.

  • The Inverted Problem Pyramid: Learn how social entrepreneurs at Ryerson’s Social Ventures Zone define a problem effectively as the first step in creating a solid venture.
  • The Five-Whys worksheet: Learn how social entrepreneurs at Ryerson’s Social Ventures Zone deepen their understanding of a problem and identify its root causes.
  • Map different perspectives of a problem: Learn how social entrepreneurs at Ryerson’s Social Ventures Zone expand their knowledge of a problem by mapping how a range of stakeholders perceive it.

Brought to you by the Ryerson Social Venture Zone

Now that you have deepened your understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, you can conduct more formal research to validate your assumptions and take the “no” off the table. The following two tools from Ryerson’s Social Ventures Zone will help you conduct research that reduces your chance of missing something that can cause big problems later and offers a quick method to develop a value proposition for your emerging social enterprise.

  • Guerrilla Research Basics: Mining and defining community need (quickly): How can you conduct a fast and effective research process to mine and define community needs, validating or challenging the assumptions behind your idea?
  • Value proposition worksheet: How can you quickly create a value proposition for your emerging social enterprise idea?

Brought to you by MaRS SVX

  • Advisor Checklist: Working With a Venture through: Ideation, Discovery and Validation. Questions and Resources to test at each stage.

Brought to you by the Centre for Social Innovation and SVX.org

As a social enterprise you are creating impact and making the world a better place. Unfortunately, that means you have to prove that you are accomplishing and measuring impact is one of the most challenging things facing Social Enterprises today. Luckily, there are many frameworks and approaches you can leverage to help you talk about it in terms that are commonly understood.

Brought to you by the SVX and MaRS

How confident are you that your product or service is actually bringing about the positive change you want to create? If you’re trying to reduce the instances of Malaria in Kenya, providing access to free or affordable mosquito nets might seem like the solution. How do you know the nets are being used appropriately and actually reducing the cases of Malaria? How do you know the population isn’t using them as low cost fishing nets? Or fencing? Although a Theory of Change isn’t always the answer, it can be a useful exercise to think of your product and how your customer will actually use it to create your impact.

Theory of Change comes in many flavours but an easy one to attempt is using a logic model. You’ll find a quick presentation going through the above example in more detail, along with an exercise and worksheet you can use to build your own. Like many business tools the Theory of Change uses hypotheses and assumptions. You should frequently look back and see if the assumptions were correct, and if not, revisit the Theory of Change to make sure you’re achieving the outcomes you want.

Theory of Change (+ Vision & Mission):

Brought to you by the SVX and MaRS

You’ve built your business, you’ve spent the time to prove that you understand your customers pain points and can deliver a solution they’re willing to pay for. How do you go out and find capital to help you scale things even further?

The investment journey for a social enterprise is very similar to a traditional business with one major difference: impact investors. Depending on the scale and opportunity of your business you may be able to raise capital from traditional investors, impact investors, or both! Regardless, you will need to be able to go through Due Diligence with any potential investor to demonstrate that you’ve put the time and thought into your business to give it the best shot of success.

To help get you get started, we’ve provided a typical Due Diligence Checklist that includes the types of documents investors will be looking for. Now, not every document listed may be relevant to you, but if they are, I’d spend some time putting them together so when an investor is interested in learning more, you can impress them with a well organized, up to date, deal room.

One of the most important tools in your fundraising tool kit is your pitch deck. Pitch presentations come in all shapes and sizes, but unless you are a pitch master, I would stick with the basics and make sure you’re covering the key information investors are looking for. The pitch shouldn’t necessarily answer all questions (that would be a very long, and very boring presentation) but should cover enough to entice an investor to want to learn more.

Here are some resource that might help you prepared your pitch deck, and how, and where to include your impact.

Coaching & Events

O.N.E. Webinar

This is a recording of information session that took place on September 12th for the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs Social Enterprise Partnership. The Partnership is an Ontario-wide initiative designed to provide O.N.E. Business Advisers and their venture clients with tools and opportunities to support the development of impact-based businesses within their communities. Key information covered in the webinar:

  1. Access to funds and other key resources
  2. Access to social enterprise specialized coaches and training
  3. Access to free tools and a network of supports

Best-In-Class Resources

O.N.E. Partners