So You Want to Start Your Own Social Enterprise?

Becoming a Social Entrepreneur

Congratulations on starting the endeavour to become a Social Entrepreneur! There are several important skills and key mindsets to obtain for a successful journey on this path. Here we’ve summed up some essential points to consider and keep in mind!

Think about these three questions:

  • Does my idea solve a problem?
  • Who will this business benefit?
  • How do you combine profit with purpose to create a thriving social enterprise?


Here is an example: The WISE Project was an ESF-funded project coordinated by the University College of Leuven & Limberg. Social entrepreneurs were interviewed to understand and identify some commonality between them, maybe even some common models. In summary, they would support the importance of knowing why.

Lessons from the WISE Project

KEY steps for Starting Up

  • Identify Need and Vision.
  • Have a Core Purpose.
  • Careful who you speak to!
  • Learn to say ‘No’.

KEY areas to consider before you start

  • Keep your salary for as long as you can!
  • Use different business and marketing models.
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Entrepreneurship as a State of Mind

Creativity is a function of three components within every individual:
expertise, creative-thinking skills, and motivation.
after Teresa M. Amabile (1983)

“Things constantly change so we must adapt”

Who moved my cheese: Dr Spencer Johnson

further material

In the following video you can find out more:

The Skills Required for a Social Enterprise:

  • Includes a range of knowledge.
  • A range of transversal and transferable skills.
  • A range of personal skills and dispositions.

So, access to training needs a rethink.

Lessons Learned from Existing Social Enterprises (Case Studies)

  • There are always challenges to overcome.
  • You need a Roadmap/ Action Plan based on your vision and targets.
  • Leadership and control – a new approach is needed.
  • Mission Creep – easily happens when responding to a Black Swan Event like Covid-19.
  • Responding to ‘unknowns’ …… isn’t easy! (The Dunning-Kruger Effect).
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further material

The following video sums up the lessons learned in this lesson:

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