The Five Core Components of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
The final week of the Social Entrepreneurship Conversation Series focused on taking ideas from the previous weeks’ conversations and actually putting them into action – bringing together groups of entrepreneurs and teachers to support their fellows in planning and workshopping sustainable enterprise beginning with an overview of the social entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole.
Surrounding any social entrepreneur or social enterprise, there are five other key components of an social-entrepreneurial ecosystem. They are (in no particular order):
- Co-Creators – the other people working in this field, whether on the same team or in a collaborative partnership.
- Customers – the people whom a social enterprise serves
- Investors – those who invest the financial and other resources needed to get the enterprise off the ground, bring it to scale, and keep it running.
- Community – the society in which the enterprise operates
- Earth – Finally, no enterprise, and especially no social enterprise, can operate without thoughtfully working with and engaging the earth – this includes the physical spaces the enterprise operates in, the resources it draws upon to create its products, and the positive environmental impacts it might support through its programs or operations.
Along these lines, five lucky social entrepreneurs got the chance to be supported by their community and co-creators, in “mastermind” sessions focused on helping them solve core problems for their businesses. You can see the problems they were working along below, along with some key take-aways for the group from the previous two weeks, and the “star” diagram of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Offerings and Obstacles
These amazing sessions (you’ll see the feedback from them at the end of this post) helped the whole group define and determine the skills and abilities they offered to the larger community of entrepreneurs. These are captured in the next three graphics (all visual notes provided by Blip Media)
Conversation participants also discussed their biggest obstacles to success in their work; these have ben captured in the notes below.
Takeaways and Next Steps
In the graphic below, you can see the the things that the entrepreneurs in the “mastermind” sessions took away from those sessions. As you can see, each person gained a great deal from being able to tap into a peer network of fellow social entrepreneurs and like-minded, talented individuals, who learned from one another while teaching and helping one of their fellows.
- Making use of the skills in the group – supporting one another through the “offerings” listed above.
- Mastermind sessions, like the ones in this conversation session, to activate and make possible the ideas of the group and the community by leveraging the skills and insights of the ecosystem.
- Collaboration and sharing amongst the players in this social enterprise ecosystem
- Creation of a “trust network” of like-minded social entrepreneurs.
- Connecting entrepreneurs with resources like AB-Tech’s Small Business Center (which offers free legal and accounting services, among others.
- Creating an online resource to help share and connect skilled people and the entrepreneurs who need them and their talents. Related ideas included:
- Integrating with the Local Exchange Trading System (LETS)
- Small Mycelium online group or social network, for conversation and school participants.
- Participants felt it was important to note that an online system amplified the effects of, but did not replace, doing this exchanging of ideas and resources in person.
- Working together to find new ways and methods of creative social problem solving, and increasing social accountability.
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