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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
Really wanting to know how to start my social enterprise, I have an idea for a virtual assistant company that will encourage technology upgrades in the region while promoting more flexible employment opportunities to grow skills and capacity in the labour market.

Question submitted 14/08/20 @ 06:05pm
Industry: Social Enterprise (Community, Not-for-Profit, For Profit)
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  • Kia Ora Scarlet – great to hear from you and your plans for establishing a social enterprise. There is a real barrier in the market for many small businesses and wider members of community around technology and particularly around the use of it to improve their lives. What I would encourage you to think about is how you can understand these barriers better. To do this, interviewing your potential target market is key – even doing 50-100 interviews to understand what they do now, what they don’t do now, how they get things done. This interview process is about understanding them now the way they are, to start with and not asking them straight out do they want to use tech. You start with their current state and you then work with that, and maybe in a 2ndary interview you might explore how technology could help them, their businesses and their lives.

    So my biggest thought for you – learn more about your target market, don’t assume anything and just spend time with your market to get some insights.

    Good luck. – Andy

    Kia ora Scarlet – a great idea for a social enterprise. One of the first questions you will want to answer is what is your purpose as a social enterprise – what is your social, environmental, economic, or cultural purpose? This should be at your foundation of the organisation.

    One of the next questions to answer is what is the best legal structure – this resource has good information https://community.net.nz/assets/resources/social-enterprises-in-NZ.pdf

    all the best
    Sandy

    I would also recommend the Ākina resources available here at Social Shifters, a global resource & connection platform for social enterprises.

    There are a huge amount of tools available so dig in and have a look. It is free to sign up and use all of the resources.

    Social Shifters – Signup

    The best starting point is figuring out your business model and your impact model – what impact are you hoping to have and how will your business model support it? Have a look here: https://socialshifters.co/resources/akina/ and use the Social Lean Canvas tool to work through your business and impact models.

    I would recommend figuring out all of this before you determine your legal structure. Having this information will help inform the right choice so do that work first!

    Ngā mihi nui,

    Lou

    I would also recommend the Ākina resources available here at Social Shifters, a global resource & connection platform for social enterprises.

    There are a huge amount of tools available so dig in and have a look. It is free to sign up and use all of the resources.

    Social Shifters – Signup

    The best starting point is figuring out your business model and your impact model – what impact are you hoping to have and how will your business model support it? Have a look here: https://socialshifters.co/resources/akina/ and use the Social Lean Canvas tool to work through your business and impact models.

    I would recommend figuring out all of this before you determine your legal structure. Having this information will help inform the right choice so do that work first!

    Ngā mihi nui,

    Lou

    A social enterprise is a business which also has a social purpose which becomes a big part of your marketing strategy. How you start a social enterprise is the same decision process as a business – https://www.business.govt.nz/starting-a-business/

    The only other consideration is whether your business would also:

    Benefit from becoming a charity, and
    Qualify to become charity

    A social enterprise can have profit objectives, provide you with an income and still deliver social outcomes.

    A charity that is a social enterprise can have profit objectives, deliver social outcomes (your charitable purpose), and provide you with a market value salary but all additional profits return to your charitable purpose. The biggest benefit of charitable status is exemption from income tax. On windup of the business, all surpluses would also go to your charitable purpose. There are additional ongoing compliance costs of setting up as a charity including setting up an independent governance board, the obligation to file an Annual Return including financial statements and depending on your turnover having an annual review or audit.

    If you decide you want to create a charity, Charities Services outlines the criteria here – https://www.charities.govt.nz/ready-to-register/need-to-know-to-register/charitable-purpose/ They also provide other information on getting started – https://www.charities.govt.nz/ready-to-register/starting-a-new-charity/

    While becoming a charity has its attractions, when in start-up you may want to consider starting as a business, working out how to make your social enterprise model work, and if it’s sustainable at a later date restructuring and applying for charitable status.

    For a more extensive chat you may want to make contact with https://thegoodcollective.org.nz/ – “Think like a Business, ImpACT like a Charity”

    Kia ora Scarlett

    There is a lot of opportunity right now to connect small businesses with the right technology. We get to see first hand the difference that tools can make to a businesses performance such as online booking, ecommerce or even as simple as having a proper business email account.

    Small businesses need help with tech but it can be expensive to engage the right help so if you can crack a scaleable formula and provide great service you could be onto a winner. Many of the technology solutions like ours also have reseller or referral schemes which provide recurring commission which provides passive income which you can put to good use in your social enterprise.

    It would be worth exploring becoming an approved advisor under the regional business partner scheme so that businesses can access your services at a subsidised rate. Digital enablement is one of the approved services:
    https://covid19.nzte.govt.nz/page/regional-business-partner-network

    As there are so many areas of technology that you could support with you might consider starting by focussing on a specific sector and becoming the world expert in tech solutions for small businesses in that sector. Being focussed will enable you to build your expertise faster, provide better and more efficient service and focus your marketing activity.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards

    Grant

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