Social Entrepreneurism for Non-Profits

What is Social Entrepreneurism?
There are a number of definitions of Social Entrepreneurism.  Wikipedia defines social entrepreneurism as: 
A social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals.

 DMR takes that to heart. We believe that a non-profit must use entrepreneurial skills to create their own independent businesses to provide revenue to sustain them in fulfilling their mission.  If they don’t, they will either cease to survive, or they will utilize all of their time and resources to chase after ever-dwindling traditional sources of revenue.  As far as we're concerned, an even worst case scenario occurs when non-profits alter their missions to accommodate grants and other revenue streams, thus completely losing their integrity, in an attempt to simply survive.

 Entrepreneurial Consultant to Non-Profits
Dreams Made Real offers services as a consultant to non-profits to assist them in finding the appropriate business to support their mission, and then further assisting them in creating and implementing that business.  Simply put, we bring the non-profit's idea of a business and develop it into reality.  Then, once the business is up and running, we assist them in developing their internal capacity to run their business.  At that point, the non-profit will have an independent source of income to support their programs.

 How this Process Works

1.Meet with Key Stakeholders to Determine Appropriate Business
We believe a non-profit business venture functions best when it promotes the mission of the non-profit.  Examples of non-profits running successful businesses abound throughout the country.  Everyone knows about the successful thrift stores that are operated by Goodwill and Salvation Army.   Other successful business ventures owned by non-profits include the restaurants and trucking businesses owned by Delancey Street in San Francisco, and the bakery owned by Home Boy Industries in Los Angeles.  In addition to providing an income for the non-profit, these businesses also provide jobs and job training skills for their constituents.

What business will best serve the non-profit, both in bringing an independent source of revenue to support their programs and in furthering their mission?

2. Bring Appropriate Resources to Create the Business
Small businesses are so successful in this country because they rely solely upon the skills and ingenuity of their creators.  They begin in home offices and are run out of the garage.  Their owners may operate their businesses during the day and wait tables at night.  They start with little or no capital.  Sometimes they explode, and sometimes they are built slowly.  Entrepreneurship is available to anybody, regardless of their past, their educational achievements, or the size of their bank account. 

Non-profits have these same resources.  They have the skills, the ingenuity and the commitment of their staff, their Boards of Directors and their constituents.  If a small businessman does not possess the resources he or she needs to create or further their business, they find those resources and bring them in, either by raising the money to pay for them, by bartering for services, or by offering equity positions in the business.

What resources does the non-profit bring to the table in starting their business? 
What resources must be brought in?
3. Create a Plan
When going for a bank loan or a Small Business Administration loan, it is necessary to create a Business Plan.  There are numerous templates for business plans that are free and available on the internet.  However, for most non-profit businesses, what is required is simply a plan, with achievable and measurable goals and objectives.  A plan is a beginning.  It divides tasks and creates timelines.  For beginning a business, the best plans are those that can be constantly adjusted as opportunities and challenges present themselves.  We will work with Key Stakeholders to develop a plan that includes both short and long term goals, and allows for immediate action and quick and measurable results. 

 4. Manage the Plan
DMR can manage all aspects of the Plan, serving as the non-profits’ Project Manager.  We will  create a team to make sure that all tasks are being carried out and that all resources are being brought to bear to support and grow the business.  Since the final intention of this plan is to have the non-profit run their own business, we will also be working with key staff and board members to train them (or their designated representatives)  to carry out the necessary functions of managing this business.

5. Turn the Business Over to the Non-Profit
Each plan will include a date in which it is expected that our involvement will come to an end, and the business will be managed entirely by the non-profit.  However, should a non-profit choose to do so, we will make ourselves available for long-term consulting, or we can enter into a new contract to further develop the business, or begin a new business.