About Us

Our Purpose and Beliefs

Our Purpose 

The Social Venture Café has been created for the purpose of advocating, incubating, and supporting an innovation-centered, collaborative approach to the creation of successful new social ventures aimed at serving our community’s most pressing social challenges, needs, and problems.

In order to guide our journey towards successfully fulfilling this purpose, we’ve decided to be guided by a number of core beliefs and principles; beliefs and principles that underlie our work and the framework model we have developed to help social venture entrepreneurs better navigate their efforts towards greater success. While we expect these to change and evolve over time, today these beliefs include:

 Our Guiding Beliefs

Belief #1:  Entrepreneurs who focus their Social Venture start-up efforts on the challenges, needs, and problems existing within the community in which he/she and his/her team live and work will benefit from having (or more easily acquiring) a deeper and more intimate understanding of the community members affected and the critical community environmental and stakeholder dynamics that exist that must be considered in creating new innovative solutions to serve the affected community members.

We believe social entrepreneurs will find more start-up success by focusing on the “local” communities where they live and work. We believe this focus increases successful social venture start-up outcomes because it more naturally ensures that the start-up entrepreneur and his/her team will be able to acquire a deeper and more empathic understanding of the community’s challenges, needs, and problems while also being able to more quickly (and fully) map out the community’s social support ecosystems and its sponsorship structures, More than likely, we believe this local focus will also have the benefit of helping the entrepreneur attract a more dedicated  and  collaborative team structure that is more vested in the outcomes of their collective work.

 

Belief #2:  Social Venture Start-ups focused on building more fully inclusive, engaged, and empowered communities help those communities unleash the power of their own community resources; resources that will begin to naturally work together to address solving many of the other social challenges, needs, and problems that may exist throughout their community and possibly, the world.

We believe in the power of fully inclusive, engaged, and empowered communities to do great things. As a result, our primary, but not exclusive, social venture creation start-up focus will be on social ventures that seek to address the challenges, needs, and problems associated with social exclusion. (Definition orientation:a person or group is considered to be socially excluded if: 1) They are geographically resident in a community, 2) they would like to take advantage of the social, political, economic, and legal rights, privileges, and opportunities normally available to the citizens of that community, and 3) they find themselves unable to take advantage of those rights, privileges, and opportunities because of factors beyond their short, intermediate, or long-term control.

Social exclusion often arises from issues associated with health, disability, language, skills and capabilities, life transitions or events, and community structures and biases.)

 

Belief #3: Greater funding and stakeholder support can be achieved when a social venture puts forward proposals that are supported by clear and compelling Social Venture Return on Investment outcomes and are able to clearly demonstrate (to the venture’s community of stakeholders and funding sources) how those solution proposals can be efficiently and effectively implemented and then confidently sustained over the short, medium, and long-term.

We believe that social venture solution designs must always support short and long-term sustainability (and more ideally, self-sufficiency). We believe that the overall level of public and private funding of solutions to serve our community’s challenges, needs , and problems  will always favor  social venture solution proposals  that , 1) can articulate  clear and  compelling  Social Return On Investment (SROI) result, and 2)  support new social ventures that  are designed to achieve ongoing, long-term sustainability through private means, with a preference to  support proposals that  achieve full  self-sufficiency through  earned income operating models.

 

Belief #4: Greater social venture success comes from ensuring a diverse and collaborative team of positive “can do” people makes up the foundation on which the start-up’s work will rely.

We believe that the most successful social venture creation outcomes come as a result ofbeing able to tap the power of collaborative and diverse teams.  We believe that team diversity is essential to being able to fully assess and build deep empathic insights into a community’s challenges, needs, and problems as well as to ensure that the essential technical and teaming skills, experiences, and perspectives are in place to support the start-up’s efforts to discover, design, develop, validate, and fully implement its new social venture solutions.   In forming these collaborative teams, we embrace both dreamer and doers, those who bring a positive “can-do” attitude to their work, and those that have the capability and capacity to contribute across the full spectrum of work the team is anticipated to need to tackle.

 

Belief #5: Greater social venture start-up success can be achieved by ensuring a single, fully empowered, innovation-centered entrepreneur is in place to actively navigate and orchestrate the venture’s start-up journey.

We believe that at the heart of every social venture start-up will be a fully empowered, innovation-centered entrepreneur. We have seen that nearly every successful social venture start-up has, at its heart, a passionate leader who has tapped the power of innovation-centered strategies, processes, tools, and collaborative leadership practices (i.e., as outlined in the Social Venture Café’s  “Breakaway Social Venture Start-up  Framework”) to drive positive, valuable, and sustainable change in their community. We believe it is essential that every entrepreneur launches his/her start-up journey from a position of clarity in terms of his/her purpose, vision, personal goals, and objectives. We also believe it is critical that every entrepreneur be fully empowered and supported by his/her team, sponsoring stakeholders, funding stakeholders, and strategic community partners to achieve his/her purpose, vision, goals, and objectives through his/her collaborative leadership decisions and actions.  We believe that the collaborative journey to discover, design, develop, and implement/launch a sustainable new social venture requires that an ongoing array of decision will need to be made along the way in regards to not only the direction and focus of the team’s efforts, but also in regards to the tactics the team will be asked to use to move forward in those directions.  We believe the ultimate decision in these situations should fall on the shoulders of a single, fully empowered, innovation-centered collaborative leader.

Definitions

Social Venture:  An undertaking by a person, group, or organization (regardless of whether for-profit, nonprofit, or volunteer), typically led by a social entrepreneur or intrapreneur, that seeks to create and implement innovative new systemic solutions to achieving a sustainable social objective.

Social Innovation: Innovation is defined as “Ideas that are actionable and executable into value”: “Social Innovation” is defined as “Ideas that specifically address social challenges, needs, and problems of all kinds and create value in terms of extending and strengthening our civil society in a sustainable way”.

Value:  A sustainable improvement over the current condition. This is generally calculated by evaluating a current state condition against a future state condition; often measured in terms of summing up all the benefits that will be realized (throughout the client-stakeholder-partner ecosystem) and subtracting the cost of delivering and sustaining those benefits.

Innovation-centered transformational leadership: A leadership approach that aims to drive significant positive and valuable change in communities through the use of innovation-focused strategies, processes, tools, and collaborative leadership/entrepreneurial practices.