Building a successful business is difficult. Around 60% of start-ups will fail within three years. So how do you turn a good idea into a successful venture?
Supporting social entrepreneurs
Professor Dimo Dimov set out to help answer that question. His research on entrepreneurship was used to create the Social Enterprise and Innovation Programme (SEIP). Designed to support social entrepreneurs in the West of England, the three-year programme helped over 500 aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses in the area.
Dimo and colleagues launched the programme in 2016. They recognised that social enterprises face more challenges than ‘traditional’ start-ups, due to their ‘unconventional’ business model. This type of business tries to balance social impact against profit. This might mean employing people who might otherwise struggle to find work, donating revenue to charity or building sustainability into working practices.
SEIP provided participants with a minimum of 12 hours of support. It gave potential entrepreneurs and new businesses advice on things like business model design and upskilling workers. The programme helped participants explore and test ideas, but also to understand what being a social entrepreneur entails.
Existing small businesses were offered a programme called ‘Business Incubation’. This helped businesses explore routes for effective launch, growth and investment.