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Starting and getting your social enterprise up and running has never been easier. The Malaysian Government has announced it will be supporting social enterprises more than ever before. This provides budding social entrepreneurs more opportunities, funding and connections to help your social enterprise to grow.

In order to scale your business there are two options available.

The SMA-TEGAS Digital Innovation Hub is designed to support startups (in the form of incubation and acceleration programmes as well as facilitation) from Pre-Seed to Pre-Series A. The upcoming Digital Village (to be completed in 2020) that services startups in series A and above, will be supporting startups through Scale-up programmes, R&D and funding.

[more info on the stages of startup growth]

Startups Require Strategic Planning and Management

It is important for you to scale your social enterprise in order to create a larger impact. One of the biggest challenge faced by social enterprises is how to quickly scale up. Compared to profit-oriented enterprises or businesses, social enterprise do not have the same access to capital and need to find other ways to scale up.

Here are some points to help you scale up your social enterprise:

1. Where to build your Social Enterprise Capital

The most important thing in scaling up any enterprise is cash/funds. Like any other business, you need money to grow and extend your impact.

5 Ways to get more funds into your enterprise:

  1. Investors
     An investor any entity who invests into your enterprise, usually expecting a return on their investment.
  2. Grants
    Grants are funds that do not need to be repaid back and are usually given to its recipients to fund certain projects. [Grants – Cultivating an ecosystem for start ups]
  3. Developmental Aid Governments
    Developmental Aid Governments or other agencies usually give out developmental aid to support the economic, environmental, social, and political development of a country.
  4. Banks 
    Banks can fund an enterprise by providing them credit and few other ways but it has to be paid back.
  5. Donations
    Social Enterprises are usually for a good cause and is not profit-oriented. Donations may be received to fund for your social programs.

2. Getting the Most out of Funding

To get big funds, you need show your accomplishments, scalability and most importantly, sustainability of your business model. You need to prove your idea works in the market and you can grow your social enterprise by more than what is invested.

Of course, if your social enterprise is sustainable and able to pay for itself, it will be a huge advantage in increasing your chances of getting funded. As you know, more funding means more resources for your social enterprise to create an impact.

3. Setting the Right Goals

You will need to know what you want to achieve in 5, 10 or even 15 years and you need to create a roadmap towards that goal. Knowing your goals, you will then need to determine on whether to scale vertically, horizontally or a mix of both in order for you to achieve your goals.

  • Scaling vertically Involves developing your social enterprise to have a stronger impact within a specific community.
  • Scaling horizontally Involves covering a wider area to increase impact of your social enterprise in more locations.

By setting clear end goals, you will not waste key resources that do not contribute to you and your social enterprise.

If setting goals is tougher than you imagine, here’s an article on on how to set goals effectively: Digital Marketer president and CEO talks on Strategic Planning for Long-Term Business Success

4. Flexibility

When scaling your social enterprise, you need to adopt a flexible approach. This is to ensure that you can maximise the impact of your social enterprise. When facing difficulties in your enterprise, you need to be flexible in making changes or to refine your business model to ensure that your social enterprise can adapt and overcome the problems you face.

5. The Right Investors will take you to the next level

Having the right committed investors play a vital role in how your social enterprise can develop and grow. Investors with connections to key industry players, will help your social enterprise grow compared to investors who only invest funds into your social enterprise. It can also create productive relationships between you and your investors that can further improve your social enterprise’s operations and business model to create a stronger impact in the community.

6. Talented Team

Recruiting, training and retaining the right talented people is also key to ensuring your social enterprise performs at its best, especially in the long term. It’s a simple strategy, by having the best talents to work with, you get better results. Retaining top talents will also ensure the long-term growth of your business. You do not want your best people to leave, would you?

7. Build Support with Good Publicity

Communicating the social problems you are trying to solve will increase public awareness of the problem. It will be easier for you to gain support and exposure of your social enterprise’s solutions to the social problems. People may not know of a social problem if they have not encountered or experienced it.

Ways to Increase publicity:

10 x Social media marketing strategy https://www.digitalmarketer.com/digital-marketing/social-media-marketing-strategy/

8. Multiply your Social impact with Corporate and Public Support

You do not need to a big social enterprise to create an impact. As a small social enterprise, working with local communities, the government or private corporations can also help your social enterprise to have an impact even without the available resources to do so.

9. Create a self sustainable business model

To increase the number of social programs your enterprise can initiate, you need to ensure your enterprise has a viable business to fund the social programs. You can also create business models revolving around providing jobs to disadvantaged workers, which in itself already creates a positive impacts towards the society.

10. Innovate, Create and benchmark

Look into your competitors or any ongoing social programs and the current social environment. Look at what they are doing and look for any ways you can do it better. There is always a way for you to make or do things better and there is always room for innovation.

There is no silver bullet

Remember that at the end of the day, there is no one best strategy to scale your social enterprise but you could combine different parts of the different strategies. As a social entrepreneur, you must always be flexible and adaptable to the environment you and your social enterprise are in and create the best way for you and your social enterprise to maximise your impact.