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Social entrepreneurship 101: What is business modelling and why is it important?

There is growing evidence that being proactive about creating your business model will help you reach your goals most efficiently. Using content from our Social Entrepreneurship 101 program, let’s get you started.

Wait, but what if I am not running a business?
For some people, the word “enterprise” (particularly “social enterprise”) is a better fit to describe their work. That’s fine! Put simply, an enterprise (or a business!) is a for-profit or not-for-profit organization engaged in commercial, industrial or professional activities.

So what is a business model?
A model is a representation of a thing; not the thing itself. Like, if you wanted to build a house, you wouldn’t just start laying a foundation. You would create a 3D model to help you get a solid idea of how everything will fit together and relate to each other. You are likely to go through multiple iterations before you are happy and give the go-ahead to start building. It is the same with a business or enterprise! A model helps us see the context of our enterprise, opens our eyes to opportunities, and surfaces assumptions.

How do you create a business model?
Business models are made up of stories and numbers. The best way to pull those together is through a visual design tool called a canvas. There are literally hundreds of modelling canvases available. SE 101 works with the Flourishing Business Canvas, because it looks at the social value that is being created, as well as the environmental and financial viability needed to build an enterprise that is sustainable.

This short video filmed at CSI Annex goes into more detail:

Designing and modelling your enterprise on a canvas allows you see it, touch it and engage with it until it gets to a place where it can be born.

Get support creating your business model in our Social Entrepreneurship 101 program. It covers all aspects of social entrepreneurship.


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