Mission Edge announces the launch of its 2018 Social Enterprise Accelerator and Impact Lab (SAIL), designed to empower nonprofit organizations and purpose-driven businesses to develop and grow sustainable, revenue-based business models that align with their social missions.
In partnership with Qualcomm Foundation, The San Diego Foundation, San Diego Workforce Partnership, Mitchell International, and Cox, the 14-week program provides a rich curriculum with content, tools, workshops, and lectures that help participants build and test their business models.
SAIL will run from March through June 2018 and culminates with a final pitch event. Participating organizations include:
- Urban Street Angels
- National Alliance of Mental Illness San Diego (NAMI)
- i-SAFE Enterprises
- YOU ME Clothing
- Equinox Project
- Blue Star Families
- 4 Walls International
- East County Economic Development Council Foundation
- A Reason to Survive (ARTS)
“The revenue generating landscape is changing for nonprofits. Organizations making an impact in our community recognize that sustainable operations may include an evolution of their business model,” explained Kathlyn Mead, President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “SAIL is a gamechanger that actively engages non-profits in a process of identifying innovative, market-based solutions toward greater financial stability. Strengthening our social safety-net through solid business practices can ensure the provision of much needed services to improve quality of life for our most vulnerable San Diegans.”
Social enterprise is a powerful business tool that advances the financial sustainability and viability of purpose-driven organizations. SAIL takes a page out of proven private-sector accelerators, and has social purpose businesses engage with capacity support organizations, business model experts, and members of the business community.
“NAMI San Diego is very excited to have been selected to participate in the accelerator program. SAIL will give us the tools and knowledge to launch our social enterprise and create a sustainable revenue stream while maintaining the mission and social impact of our organization,’ says Cathryn Nacario, CEO of NAMI SD. “The mentors and curriculum bring current business experience and a different perspective that will allow for growth and success.”
Over the past several years, there has been growth in non-traditional models of revenue generation, both among 501c3 and for-profit social enterprises. This includes the development of earned revenue streams within existing nonprofits and the creation of for-profit enterprises that are focused on social impact. Both of these trends are geared toward developing sustainable business models while serving the community.
"Social enterprises epitomize the intersection of entrepreneurialism and community,” says Peter Callstrom, CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “By investing in companies that believe in a double-bottom line with both financial and social impact, we promote ROI for investors, increase job opportunities for underserved populations, and reap social benefits that extend far beyond the great products and services offered by these enterprises."
Traditional models of philanthropy based on donations to tax-exempt organizations have long been the backbone of social sector activity, but can present very real challenges to organizations that rely solely on donations and grants for their operating revenue. These include a lack of transparency in the funding process, uncertainty in cash flow forecasting, and restrictions on the uses of funds that often compromise operations in the name of program support. SAIL exists to flip this script and help organizations find sustainability in revenue-generating business models.
“There is a pressing need for education, services, and collaboration where these new and innovative social enterprise models can be created, tested, and accelerated,” says Ken Davenport, CEO of Mission Edge. “There has never been a better time for SAIL, which gives social business and nonprofit organizations the opportunity to test assumptions about their customers and market, develop a business canvas, and confirm whether the market will pay for some or all of what they provide.”
To learn more about the SAIL program, visit https://www.missionedge.org/labs/.