We’re really proud of the team at the UI. They now provide accelerator and support programs to Social Entrepreneurs in over 30 countries!!! Since the institute’s inception, we’ve provided pro-bono mentorship and coaching to these entrepreneurs.
We think of Unreasonable Institute as a platform that finds, attracts and supports the most promising Social Entrepreneurs on the planet – they are GREAT at this.
For our part, we benefit from proximity and relationship with entrepreneurs all over the world – working on some of the most complex problems ranging from clean water, to climate change, to housing, to health (access). In terms of impact, we view this as a huge leverage point. We get to be with these entrepreneurs as they BEGIN their journey (toward scale).
The Future Cities Accelerator:
Kerry and I are preparing to leading a two-day Boot Camp around Storytelling and Sales at the Future Cities Accelerator. This is a new Unreasonable Institute concept developed in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation to find, support, and scale ten game-changing ventures supporting poor and vulnerable populations in the US. As we prepare to spend time with these entrepreneurs, here are some key refrains we will share:
We become what we think about.
In addition to the global power of this insight, we caution social entrepreneurs from getting too caught up in messaging ‘earned-income revenue’ or ‘biz model’. These are HUGELY important, but entrepreneurs can get distracted as they make their way through awards circles, fellowships, and conferences. They seem to be sucked into a world that debates the how at expense of story about the why and the what.
Eyes on the prize. And the prize is the impact.
There are no rules.
(Assuming ethical and legal baseline, but beyond that, there are no rules.) Everything we share in terms of our frameworks are simply constructs that we’ve made up (and tested A LOT). Don’t ever think there is some magic fundraising (or entrepreneurship) secret that you don’t know. There isn’t.
We are taught to present, not to engage.
Simply ask yourself before every pitch, or sale, “What would ENGAGEMENT look like in this situation?” Use more visuals. Be simple. Ask questions. (Despite the fact that every entrepreneur is going to have you make a pitch deck – outside of silicon valley, boulder and wall street – nobody uses a pitch deck.)
Think Big. Build Simple. Act Now.
We don’t believe that ‘Changing the World’ has to be cliché. ‘Changing the World’ is the epitome of THINK BIG! And it’s only cliché if you can’t follow-up with how you’re going to do it – SIMPLY and IMMEDIATELY.
Entrepreneurs will complete the boot camp next week after which our team will provide coaching and support for nine months. I hope to be able to share some great stories about innovation and promise for impacting our most vulnerable populations.
I’ve just returned from a trip to Ireland. I had a number of great meetings with social entrepreneurs and conversations about ‘social entrepreneurship’.
In Ireland and certainly here in the states, I think Social Entrepreneurship still represents TWO frames. The first is having to do with earned income. (I’m reposting thoughts from 2008 below)
The second frame is more broad. It represents the entrepreneurial attitude for change or impact. It’s this second definition that I like and it’s also this second frame that is starting to define the social sector. Go to a nonprofit conference and notice the average age. Then go to a similar conference organized for ‘social entrepreneurs’ and again, note the average age.
We’re obviously fans of the social entrepreneurship because the very term invites challenging thinking and norms. That being said, I don’t think one room (or conference) is superior to another in terms of commitment or values. It’s worth noting that the conversation-at-large is generationally shifting. If it weren’t for the IRS I could argue that in 30 years we might not have a ‘non profit sector’; it might become the ‘social (entrepreneurship) sector’.
At For Impact | The Suddes Group we are committed to developing social entrepreneurs and emerging social leaders. For most of our work in this area, we partner with The Unreasonable Institutewhere we have been ‘Unreasonable Mentors’ to social entrepreneurs from all over the world for the past six years.
Unreasonable teamed up with the Rockefeller Foundation and together they’re launching The Future Cities Accelerator. This project exists to solve the challenges faced by poor or vulnerable populations living in U.S. cities.
We’re proud to play a big part in this project where 10 early stage ventures will be selected to take part in the the 5-day accelerator and receive $100K in grant funding. After the accelerator, The Suddes Group will provide 9 months of fundraising mentorship and assistance to make sure you have the resources to solve these challenges.
For Impact is a team of entrepreneurs. I sold my first company at the age of 20. Tom, a serial entrepreneur, has founded 19 different companies. Just about everyone else has experience in starting or building companies and scaling ideas.
What brings our team together is this experience plus a common passion to use this DNA for Impact. (And, there we have a nice little reference to our raison d’être.) Extracting this DNA — then putting it into words — it reads:
Focus on 10 prospects who could TRANSFORM your funding … and TRANSFORM your organization.
ONLY do that which is productive in your funding plan (Stop doing special events that aren’t special and that don’t raise money.)
Stamp DRAFT on everything and go visit!
No committees. “Engage, then plan!”
Just Visit. Just ASK. Ten steps forward and two steps back is still eight steps forward.
Tom brings a more powerful voice to the ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT. Not only has he done the 19 companies, but he’s traveled the world visiting with and mentoring social entrepreneurs. Here is a one-pager on TB/BS/AN from Tom.