On August 15, 2017, SocialVentures (formerly the Center for Social Enterprise Development), joined by social entrepreneurs, funders and community partners, celebrated its third year, which included the launch of the organization’s new name and brand, SocialVentures. During the organization’s annual Positioned to Prosper event at the Columbus Museum of Art, SocialVentures’ President and CEO, Allen J. Proctor; Elaine Luttrull of the Columbus College of Art and Design and SocialVentures Chair; Susan Post, staff writer at The Metropreneur; Kip Morse, president of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio; and Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, took the stage to announce several new programs, partnerships and initiatives, as well as the accomplishments of the sector, which are also featured in SocialVentures’ annual report, Mobilizing the Community: The State of Social Enterprise in Central Ohio, which is available for download.
New Programs, Partnerships and Initiatives: What You Need to Know
SocialVentures, an organization that creates and connects community resources to businesses that create social impact, has announced several new offerings designed to provide the resources social entrepreneurs need to grow and thrive in Central Ohio. Since 2014, the social enterprise sector has grown from 18 social enterprises to more than 100, making social enterprise one of the fastest-growing sectors in Central Ohio.
Here are the highlights from the Positioned to Prosper celebration:
1. The organization had its first closing of Social Ventures Fund, LLC, a member-based private fund for accredited individuals, companies and foundations to invest in local growth stage social enterprises. The fund is managed by SocialVentures, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. This is the first fund of its kind here in Central Ohio, and will make investments in social enterprises possible, offering capital to companies and organizations, just like angel investing, seed investing, or venture capital—all to empower social entrepreneurs to scale more quickly to a sustainable state.
2. SocialVentures and the Better Business Bureau have partnered to jointly develop a prototype social impact identification and validation program in Columbus to test creating and operating a joint program that can be implemented nationally. Joining BBB’s expertise in operating and promoting good business and SocialVentures’ expertise in social enterprise, the organizations plan to design a program that will cement the trust between social enterprises and their customers—that each purchase indeed is contributing to a better community.
3. SocialVentures, with its new name and brand, launched its new website (www.socialventurescbus.com), which features a new Marketplace, where consumers and potential investors can view profiles of local social enterprises using various filters based on cause or impact area, stage of growth, and product or service.
4. SocialVentures continues to capture more and better data on the collective impact of the social enterprise sector. From the 47 organizations that reported data, meals provided surged in 2017 to almost 100,000, sales and payroll contributions to the economy grew as well over the past year. See our annual report for more statistics.
5. This year SocialVentures is partnering with The Metropreneur to sponsor the Social Enterprise of the Year awards on September 14 at Aspire 2017. At the August 15 event, Susan Post announced this year’s finalists. For the category of Emerging Social Enterprises, finalists include: Aunt Flow, Bottoms Up Coffee Co-op and Growlers Dog Bones. For the category of Social Enterprise of the Year, the finalists are: Hot Chicken Takeover, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse and She Has A Name Cleaning Services. The finalists for the non-profit sustainability award include: Equitas Health, Furniture With a Heart and Zero Waste Event Productions.
SocialVentures has announced more than 20 new offerings:
- A special series of workshops focused on marketing skills.
- A new program to match experts in marketing and business planning to provide focused feedback one-on-one with social entrepreneurs.
- A partnership with Lextant, a global expert in consumer research, who will provide two local social enterprises with a free, pro bono consumer experience study. This is one of three programs SocialVentures offers that is open only to Community Impact Ambassadors, those social enterprises who fully disclose their economic and social impact data. Applications are now open for the first free consumer study.
- Through Rev1 Ventures, our Community Impact Ambassadors can also apply for specially reserved seats in Rev1’s highly regarded Customer Learning Lab (formerly called Concept Academy) boot camp in market identification.
- Plans to expand SocialVentures’ social enterprise training for non-profits this year include three free introductory workshops, the eight-month SE Catalyst accelerator, a showcase of nonprofit social enterprises for donors and investors, and a follow-up year of support to Catalyst participants. Information on this expanded program will be available in the coming weeks.
Social enterprise is now a truly established sector in our city. SocialVentures looks forward to increasing our efforts to advocate for, support and promote social entrepreneurs, so that the sector continues to thrive in Central Ohio. We hope that you will consider participating in one of the exciting initiatives listed above, and join our quest to further promote and encourage the purchase of goods and services provided by these 100+ organizations. Please check out our website links above for more details on these programs, or contact us to learn how you can get involved by sending an email to [email protected].