WHEN AND WHERE
Classes will run:
September 29, 2021 to December 1, 2021
Wednesdays: 5:30 – 8:30 PM ET
Online: Zoom Classroom and Slack workspace
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
We’ve designed this program to foster a collaborative, supportive and inclusive virtual community for our cohort. Together, we will explore social entrepreneurship and various tools and resources to help refine your social enterprise idea, while gaining valuable skills that will give you the confidence to move your idea forward.
Throughout the 9-week program, you will:
- Explore your purpose as a social entrepreneur within a supportive online community
- Discover your problem space
- Map opportunities for impact & discover your key stakeholders
- Build your business model
- Identify funding options
By the end of the 9 weeks, you’ll gain experience, confidence and practice in core areas such as critical thinking, systems thinking, active listening, storytelling, decision making and business modelling.
In addition to the 9-week Start Program online curriculum, participants will also gain:
- Four one-to-one coaching sessions with an experienced social enterprise coach
- Access to online CSI Community perks: CSI Community Membership & invitations to additional online workshops
- Extra support through weekly (virtual) peer engagement sessions
- Access to valuable tools, guides and worksheets for your future use
WHO YOU’LL MEET
You will form deep connections with a diverse cohort of 15 women changemakers who are passionate, driven and committed to making a positive impact. In this program you will also have an opportunity to connect with a coach from our diverse community of social enterprise coaches, because we believe representation is important and highly valuable.
The Start Program was developed in partnership with the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network. WOSEN is dedicated to equity and inclusion and the term ‘women’ is used collectively throughout this page. We serve trans and cis women, and our programming is inclusive of Two-Spirit, non-binary, and genderqueer individuals. We prioritize those from underserved and underrepresented communities, including Indigenous folks, folks in rural or remote regions, racialized folks, newcomer folks, LGBTQ2+, and folks with disabilities.
WEEK 0: ONBOARDING & ORIENTATION
This is a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know each other and create connections among our cohort. We will also help you unpack some questions you may be wondering, such as:
- How do I navigate this online offering in the most efficient way?
- What is WOSEN? How are the WOSEN Design Principles incorporated into programming?
- Setting intentions: What is my vision & personal learning goals?
- How can I contribute to our online community and engage more effectively with my peers?
Learning Outcomes: Learn how to navigate the online offering, creating connections with each other and setting intentions. Together we will explore the importance of mindsets, and active & deep listening skills that will be helpful throughout the program.
WEEKS 1-4: YOU & YOUR ECOSYSTEM
In the first half of this program you will explore and gain a “bird’s eye view” of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Expand your knowledge of yourself and the systems you are part of. Discover your network and how you can utilize it. Together, we’ll begin with some of the big questions you may be asking yourself, such as:
- What is entrepreneurship and what is social entrepreneurship? How do I unpack my assumptions about it?
- What is social impact? How can you generate social impact?
- How do I define success? What does that look like for me?
- How do I navigate this complex ecosystem? What are the steps for conducting discovery research on my topic of interest?
- How do I incorporate research insights to help shape my social enterprise idea?
Topic: Social Entrepreneurship & Self Exploration
Learning Outcomes: Understanding your vision, values, and your “why.” Explore Personal Asset Maps, personal narratives, and assumptions.
Topic: Ecosystem Challenge
Learning Outcomes: Use an ecosystem approach to define your challenge. Learn about the Impact Gaps Canvas, Community Asset Mapping, and unpack some more assumptions. Learn how to conduct discovery research.
Topic: Ecosystem Solutions
Learning Outcomes: Identify your ecosystem actors & stakeholders, and what solutions already exist. Learn more about discovery interviews to validate assumptions.
Topic: Ecosystem Gaps
Learning Outcomes: Learn how to evaluate & prioritize opportunities and how to define impact.
WEEKS 5-8: YOUR ENTERPRISE IDEA
The second half of the program places more emphasis on your enterprise idea. You will explore this in greater depth using helpful tools such as the Flourishing Business Canvas to help strengthen your idea and build on your entrepreneurial skills through strengthening, practicing, and experimenting. Learn to iterate your business model based on new insight from your discovery research.
Questions answered during this phase include:
- What type of business model can support my social enterprise idea? How do I create social and/or environmental impact?
- What skills and resources do I need to get started? Where can I find them?
- How can I learn from other women’s entrepreneurial journeys?
- Who am I as a leader? And how can I utilize people within my network as I take the next step?
- How do I build an action plan to move my idea forward?
Topic: Enterprise ‘Why’
Learning Objectives: Unpacking your entrepreneurial toolkit – Introduction to business modelling.
Topic: Enterprise Model.
Learning Objectives: Continue building on and iterating your Flourishing Business Model Canvas. How can you engage stakeholders to achieve your vision?
Topic: Enterprise Mechanics
Learning Objectives: Social enterprise financials 101, defining success, and exploring how to structure and incorporate your enterprise.
Topic: Enterprise Flourishing
Learning Objectives: Social enterprise financing (options, tips, and resources to get started), build on your action plan and gain momentum moving forward.
Week 9: End of Program Celebration
To wrap up the program, we’ll gather as a cohort to celebrate everyone’s journey, share resources on next steps, and figure out how we can stay connected.
The Start program will allow you to gain many entrepreneurial competencies no matter what path you decide to take after the program ends!
We incorporate the following WOSEN Design Principles in our programming: inclusive & accessible, systems informed, decolonized, responsive, ecosystems approach, human-centered, and taking an anti-oppressive lens. Incorporating these principles allows us to deliver programming in an effective and unique way to enhance your virtual learning experience. Here are some of the skills you will learn from this course:
- Business Modelling: Learn the fundamentals of business model design and how to integrate and iterate various components of your social enterprise idea.
- Personal & Community Asset Mapping: Identify your strengths (assets) and gaps, and learn how to connect to external resources to help you succeed.
- Incorporating an Ecosystems Approach: Integrate systems thinking, mapping & navigation.
- Storytelling: Crafting and telling stories to understand the impact you want to make and learning how to connect with audiences.
- Critical Thinking & Research Skills: Learn how to problem solve, collect data and analyze it.
- Design & Systems Thinking: Understanding the numerous factors that contribute to a problem you are wanting to solve.
- Active Listening: Learn how to listen deeply and effectively in order to build strong relationships.
- Inner Confidence & Awareness: Gain inner strength to connect to your values and goals.
- Time Management & Goal Setting: Set realistic goals for your action plan.
- Decision Making: Selecting the best course of action that will bring about authentic change.
- You are a woman, Two-Spirit, non-binary or genderqueer individual
- You live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) or the Central Ontario region
- Stage of venture: early stage
- Your social enterprise idea is a product or service the will create measurable positive exchange in your community
- You are at least 18 years old
- You want to build an enterprise to address a challenge and you have an idea for a solution
- You are motivated and open to learning, feedback, and new ideas
- You want to be part of & contribute to an outstanding community of like minded individuals
- You are available to join evening programming online (Wednesdays from 5:30pm to 8:30pm ET)
Canadian citizenship is not required to participate in the Start program.
- Attend 1 onboarding session and 9 online workshop sessions (Wednesdays from 5:30pm to 8:30pm ET)
- Be able to commit between 4-6 hours per week
- Complete relevant coursework and exercises at your own pace
- Attend four, 50-min, one-to-one coaching sessions (a commitment outside of class)
- Always show respect and empathy towards your peers
- Supporting WOSEN’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility
There will be a 1 hour weekly peer support group session throughout the program. Although it is not mandatory, it’s a great way for you to continue conversations with your peers in a supportive environment.
Applications Close: August 29, 2021
Selected Participants Notified: September 10, 2021