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Choosing the right legal form for your social enterprise: insights from a strategy consultant

Many social entrepreneurs are starting out on their journey to change the world, and considering registering an organization. However, there is a drastic shortage of practical information on the type of legal form they should choose for their social enterprise.

This article from February 2016 aims to clear up some of this confusion.

It discusses the pros and cons of the various legal forms available to social enterprises in South Africa. It shows how much opportunity there is and helps to dispel some misconceptions. It encourages social entrepreneurs to launch a brand and immerse themselves in their work. The best legal form for their social enterprise will emerge; in cannot always be determined upfront.

Social entrepreneurship in South Africa

This article was commissioned by the Red Bull Amaphiko programme in 2015. It highlights the considerable need for social entrepreneurs in South Africa. It discusses the various challenge and opportunities facing these social entrepreneurs. It also quotes some well-known leaders in the sector such as Pat Pillay from LifeCo UnLtd and Francois Bonnici from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

How a business can become a social enterprise

This article was published in the June 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 11 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses eight tactics that businesses can use to introduce social enterprise thinking into their business model. It also sheds light on how businesses can start the journey to become social enterprises.

Interview about social enterprises on #Hashtag Radio

Warren Lodge interviewed me on #Hashtag Radio about the growth of social enterprises in South Africa. We discuss social enterprises and their recent popularity. We also discuss what non-profit organizations and businesses can do to start their journey to social enterprise.

Listen to the interview from June 2015.

Video of my talk at UCT Upstarts on social enterprises

UCT Upstarts is a campaign to get students to start projects to have a social impact. I was invited to present a “101 course” on social enterprises in May 2015. This presentation introduces the concept of a social enterprise and highlights the three main challenges they are experiencing: access to markets; access to business support; and access to finance.

Watch a YouTube video of some highlights from my talk.

101 on social enterprises

UCT Upstarts is a campaign to get students to start projects to have a social impact. I was invited to present a “101 course” on social enterprises in May 2015. This presentation introduces the concept of a social enterprise and highlights the three main challenges they are experiencing: access to markets; access to business support; and access to finance.

Develop a brand so it engages your community

This article was published in the May 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 10 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses the value of building a strong “social brand” around which you engage all your stakeholders.

GreenPop, a leading social enterprise that runs campaigns to “green” communities and promote environmental awareness is profiled in this edition.

Collaborate with businesses and give them real value

This article was published in the April 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 9 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses the importance of seeing businesses as potential partners, rather than just a source of funding.

CapaCiti from the Cape Town IT Initiative is profiled in this edition, and its experience collaborating with IT companies to place train and place interns is discussed.

Sell benefits to customers

This article was published in the March 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 8 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses how successful social enterprises ensure that their customers get real value for the goods and services they purchase. This requires investing lots of time and effort in trying to understand their customers’ needs and designing products that genuinely benefit them.

The Clothing Bank is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise is helping hundreds of women to setup small retail businesses. It also helps large retailors to put their excess stock to good use.

Business models for social entrepreneurs

The Graduate School of Business at UCT runs a post-graduate diploma in Management Practice. This diploma contains a module on Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I gave a series of lectures in February 2015 to students on the different business models that social entrepreneurs have been using in South Africa.

The presentation draws inspiration from two sources. The first is the Harvard Business Review article entitled “Reinventing your Business Model”. The second source is Kim Alter’s classic 2007 paper entitled “Social Enterprise Typology”.

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