Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Social Enterprise Exchange

 Guest Blogger: Shannon Cross, Pillar Intern, Western University MIT program

As a Pillar intern, I had the pleasure of accompanying Program Manager Chris Moss to her monthly Social Enterprise Exchange (SEE) meeting hosted at the WOTCH office in London. Going into the meeting, I was unsure of what to expect, as I had very little experience engaging in collaborative meetings in the past. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information I learned.

As a recap, following are some of the strategies discussed in a round table format pertaining to the promotion of social enterprise projects and their growth in the community.

Strategies for Promoting a Social Enterprise Model:
  • Utilize all free resources available in the community to get the message out about your organization or project (social media, booths, word of mouth, and signage)
  • Collaborate. Align yourself with larger organizations in a collaborative effort (which provides access to their networks, clients, resources, and methods of marketing)
  • Persevere. Communities are often resistant to change, so you must prove yourself first, then enable the community to adapt over time
  • Let the community own the idea. Pitch the idea to them and allow the members to collaborate as a group, rather than running the project yourself
  • Be open to change. By opening up an idea to community collaboration; new ideas and challenges are likely to arise, so be open to incorporating them

With a great turn-out of approximately a dozen social entrepreneurs, discussion focused on continued development of social enterprises. Those who attended had the opportunity to share challenges, positive strategies, success and failure stories, as well as exchange contact information in a process of networking to develop future relationships.

For more information regarding social enterprise opportunities or future monthly SEE meetings, you are welcome to contact Chris Moss at Pillar Nonprofit Network at socialenterprise@pillarnonprofit.ca