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Part 3 -How to get the money?

We all want to help others who are in need and possibly one of the best way to do that is running a social enterprise. It can be often difficult to imagine how to create a viable business model while we want to help and give.
The tricky question is: How do we ask for money?
For the money which is needed to achieve our social goal. And indeed, if investors would only look the very disadvantaged groups of people who we actually want to support they could be rightly worried that they won’t see their money back anytime soon.

In reality there are several possible sources where we can find the necessary money. Such as:
 

  • Customers, that are consumers who want our product/service.
  • Companies might want to learn from our activities (they can sponsor us).
  • The social enterprise can be funded by an NGO, crowd sourcing or either by the government.

So, do NOT get fixated on the scarcity mindset and how to ask for money.
Rather clarify the value first and see who are those organizations or individuals who can benefit on various ways (directly or indirectly) from our product or service. That is right, in the end it has to be boiled down to a product or service. I know it sounds much drier than GIVING and HELPING others but in the end a product and/or service are the universally understandable ways to describe our mission, the value that we want to bring into this world. It can be understood by investors, partners, customers, authorities. The best tool is to map out our business idea visually is the Business model canvas click here for more or watch a short video by clicking here. After some brainstorm sessions when all the fields are filled we can zoom in and analyse more specifically the value proposition canvas that can really help us find the product-market fit.

During this analysis we can discover that in many cases our users not the ones who will be our paying customers. There are often individuals or organizations who indirectly benefit from our activity and if we help them recognize the value there is a bigger chance that they will be supporting us financially.
   
If we are totally new to entrepreneurship and have difficulties completing our first business model canvas on our own, we have to start visiting already established platforms where there is knowledge concentrated and workshops are given about entrepreneurial topics.
In the case of Wageningen the following organizations can we count on.
 

If we start visiting these workshops we will encounter several like minded people at least from the perspective of the entrepreneurial spirit. We should be also prepared for and not being surprised when we come across some other entrepreneurs who are still going for the quick money schemes without being concerned about social or environmental challenges. It can be frustrating to meet them, especially if we are fired up from our utopian world changing project plans. 😊
We should remember that we are there to learn and if we get to understand more the people with the standard greedy business mindset, we will be able to build our responsible enterprise learning from their mistakes too.
 

From the moment we start speaking about any aspect of our idea with family, friends, colleagues and contacting new people and visiting new places we are in the mode of networking. Networking can help us discovering often unseen hidden relationships between individuals and organizations, moreover we can gain insight how the different organizations operate. All of them has a different culture and a language that they use. It is useful to learn their language or find someone who can mediate while approaching them. Because we have to translate our idea to their own language and find out who are the gatekeepers to access further parts of different networks and lead us to the decision makers.

During this journey our business model canvas will be altered just like our skills to introduce our idea which needs to be developed. Basically we need to work on our pitch (it is also called elevator pitch)

Maybe we need different variations of our pitch if we approach different organizations, our future partners, employees, customers and of course different kind of investors.

To develop our communication and presentation skills it is highly recommend to visit and possibly join the nearest Toastmasters Club: Toastmasters Wageningen 
 

At Toastmasters you can develop your presentation, listening and in general your communication skills to a higher level.

To conclude what has been written so far we can say that the three key areas what we need to pay special attention to raise money: our Business model canvas, networking and communication.

It is possible that after we got familiar with local networks and possibilities, we want to get access to different networks that are more specifically focused on impact making. In that case check out the ImpactHub Network which is a global network of ImpactHubs also with offices in the Netherlands.

But strictly speaking of MONEY to start with, we should take a closer look on this list of Dutch Impact Investors . And look up part 2 again where there more thoughts about impact investing.

 

During the table discussion some other ideas were also briefly mentioned and the participants did not dive into the details. (and I personally do not have special comment on them) But of course they can also spark further ideas so here they come:

  • Cooperate with others while going for funds
  • Find companies which have CSR policy to wash their guilt, we can ask them to sponsor us.
    (try to avoid greenwashing but maybe it is possible to come up with creative and useful ideas that serves the good of all)
  • Set up Social Werkplaats mentioned in part 2  and get government funding
  • Try possibilities how to work with local money
    Maybe there are ways you can create value in your community and be able to get paid in local money EURIJN check out website: https://www.eurijn.nl/
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