Are you passionate about a social or environmental issue? If so, becoming a social entrepreneur could be a great career choice. Social purpose businesses focus on both profitability and more charitable causes. For example, a company that sells handmade bracelets and donates a portion of the proceeds to saving endangered animals is a social purpose business.
The first step in starting a social enterprise is to choose a cause that is near and dear to you. Once you decide on your purpose, it’s time to become an expert. After all, you want to be well-versed in the issue you’re supporting. In addition to learning all about the cause, you may also want to look into your competition, your target market, and how you plan to provide value to your customers beyond just effecting social change.
Next, you need to decide on a legal structure. In Canada, your options are starting a charity, a co-op, a non-profit, or a for-profit corporation. Naturally, if you plan on making your social purpose business a full-time career, a for-profit corporation is the best bet. However, you may find that other legal structures may fall in line more closely with your views and goals.
Once you decide on a legal structure, you can form a business plan. That means you need to decide on a product or service and figure out how to create, market, and sell it. For example, if you’re planning on selling handmade bracelets, you may be able to do the labor by yourself from home and start an online store. If you plan on starting a larger business, you may need to look into renting a space, sourcing materials, and hiring a team.
Now that you know how you plan to proceed, you can seek funding, put together an advisory team, and hire employees, if necessary. Building a social purpose business can take time, as it may not always be easy to find like-minded people. As long as you stay persistent and remain focused on your goals, you should find that genuine passion goes a long way in getting the right people on board, as well as building a customer base. Start small, and keep moving forward. Eventually, you may be able to make a big difference.