Lessons Learned in Social Entrepreneurship

By Marcie Barnes

This post was originally published on www.crowdbackers.com.

Photo credit: danielmoyle  /></a>Why am I a social entrepreneur? I see a possible future based on our current system, a future that encompasses happiness, sustainable business practices, and environmental responsibility. I see many non-profits struggling, while at the same time I see many non-profits with ties to big business, in the form of corporate sponsorship and partnerships who are thriving. I am happy to have the opportunity to share with you my experiences and thoughts on how it can be possible to make the world a better place within the framework of the current system – along with some other tips and advice on creating a sustainable, and profitable social venture.</p><p><strong>Things to consider when organizing your social venture, compared to a traditional business venture:</strong></p><p>I spent many months researching and pondering how to establish my own company and eventually decided to go with a traditional C-corp (with plans to convert to a <a href=B-corp later). In short, the B-Corporation structure gives legal protection to traditionally structured corporations such that they are not solely held accountable for making profits for their shareholders, and makes room for environmental and social considerations. In addition, the B-Corp certification helps consumers identify companies that have a vested interest in social/environmental concerns, which is something that more and more people are looking for in the products and services they buy or support.

In my case, the nature and scope of my business (and personal status as a non-millionaire) required that I seek investors to fund my idea. So, forming a non-profit was not a viable option for me. 501(c)(3) structures also come along with a lot of extra paperwork. However, if the type of business you are starting is more conducive to being funded mostly via donations, then the non-profit status will be what your customers are looking for.

There are many similarities between social ventures and traditional business. Here is a list of some of the common things you’ll need:

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