Nurturing Growth: The Five Pillars of Social Enterprise Success

The social enterprise sector is not just an industry; it’s a community. It’s about collective change and shared victories. 
In the bustling heart of the social enterprise world, where every day presents new challenges and insights, it’s easy to overlook the foundational steps that bolster success. Enterprising leaders in this sector understand the vital mix of innovation, collaboration, foresight, mentorship, and inspiration. Indeed, for those poised at the brink of social entrepreneurship, here are five key takeaways championed by the Summit to ensure both personal and professional growth:


1. Increase Enterprise Capacity And Constant Evolution of Ideas

In a landscape characterized by change, stagnancy can be lethal. Summits, conferences, and industry events are treasure troves of innovative thoughts. Social enterprises and social entrepreneurs require board governance and business management skills but often do not come from business backgrounds. Like many small businesses, most social enterprises are started and run by people who are passionate about what they do, but could benefit from further skills development when it comes to operating a business.
Capacity development and other learning opportunities help social entrepreneurs at every stage of their business from establishment onward. Success is often realized by the ability of entrepreneurs, including social entrepreneurs, to access training and develop the skills they need in a timely fashion.

2. Networking: More than Just a Buzzword

While the term ‘networking’ has become commonplace, its true essence lies in building genuine, collaborative connections. Connectivity is at an all-time high, and networking is critical to expanding your brand or developing yourself in a professional setting.
Networking is not just something people do, its a lifestyle and those that are most successful have adapted to and mastered this lifestyle. Great networks don’t grow on trees; you must initiate, build and nourish them to have long lasting relationships.

3. Leadership : Stay True and Listen

A leader’s journey, while rewarding, often meanders through lonely terrains. With 3.2 billion social media users globally, social will continue to be the foundation of conversations across Europe as brands within all verticals adopt their positions to be seen as real, open and empathetic.
As part of staying real, getting involved in things such as corporate responsibility and civic engagement definitely has its risks – as some brands may shy away from taking a public stand on divisive topics, especially considering the impossibility of appeasing everyone. However, if executed correctly, communicating your brand’s values towards efforts that directly affect your followers could also be the reason you are having to hire another supplier or more staff to meet your product demand.
Listening to the conversations your community has around issues relevant to your employees, customers and business, tracking the questions your audience consistently asks and keeping a pulse on the hot topics in your industry gives you a starting point to establish greater brand transparency while giving your fans a voice. All of this can be complex and it may feel impossible to get everything perfect. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

4. Future-Proofing Your Venture : Expand Market Opportunities

The success and growth of social enterprises depends on the market for their goods and services. This not only includes expansion of the market, but the expansion of the capacity of social enterprises to respond to market opportunities.
Procurement policies of private and public sector entities can create significant avenues for the sector’s growth and sustainability. Specifically, incorporating social value as a purchasing criterion expands market opportunities for social suppliers while enabling new benefits to be realized by social purchasers.

5. Re-engage and rekindle The Passion

The road to social entrepreneurship, while gratifying, is strewn with obstacles. Equally crucial is understanding the power of teamwork. focusing on building and retaining a stellar team, aims to empower leaders to maximize their organization’s potential.
Collective reporting, measurement, and sharing of the social enterprise sector’s activities and achievements can help to promote and demonstrate its value, both to those with whom they do business or aspire to do business, as well as to wider audiences regarding the positive impacts social enterprises have in their communities.