Create an action plan for developing the 12 core leadership competencies that we have identified from training more than 13,000 social entrepreneurs.  

The Idea2Entrepreneur Talent Tool is an online self-assessment and guided action plan for growing your entrepreneurial leadership skills and capabilities. The tool is designed to guide you through a discovery process with support from a mentor -- ensuring you are ready to take the necessary steps to develop your team and build your social enterprise for greater impact.  

The I2E Talent Tool is most appropriate for leaders of social enterprises that are in the validate stage of development, which means your social enterprise is operating but still testing and refining its business model. Future versions of the tool will be available for social entrepreneurs with businesses in other stages of development.



1. Take the Self-Assessment

The Idea2Entrepreneur Talent Tool is designed to identify the key leadership competencies where you excel and to help you discover key areas for growth. The Self-Assessment will generate a set of scores on 12 entrepreneurial competencies and give you relevant guiding feedback.

The I2E Talent Self-Assessment should take you about 45 minutes to complete. 


2. Develop an Action Plan

Review the I2E Talent Self-Assessment Scores and Guiding Feedback you received via email. Then, you can use the Action Plan Worksheet to develop talent development goals and identify action items to help you achieve these goals. 

You may find it helpful to work with a mentor to identify actions you can take immediately and in the future.

Track your progress towards the goals over a three to six month period. Consider re-taking the I2E Talent Self-Assessment after this time period and reevaluate your action plan.


3. Deepen Your Growth 

Seek out additional resources to help you deepen your growth in the competencies you identified for development. Check out the Resources Gallery below to get you started.

12 Core Competencies of a Successful Entrepreneurial Leader

for social enterprises in the validate stage


  • Judgement: Ability to mitigate challenges and make judgement calls to prevent mission distractions and keep team focused and productive.
  • Credibility: Capacity to demonstrate and communicate credibility of business to potential donors, investors and other partners.


  • Networking: Ability to build and leverage a network of relevant stakeholders: board members, donors, employees, industry experts, investors, mentors and partners.
  • Partnerships: Capacity to identify partners/service providers that will contribute to the validation of the enterprise: cost structures, documented evidence of impact, operational efficiencies.
  • Knowledge: Committed to acquiring and understanding country-specific knowledge related to market niche.


  • Refining: Ability to test the business model and refine until it works.
  • Strategy: Ability to chart a path forward and develop a clear strategy for the enterprise.


  • Operations: Capacity to operationalize the business with a realistic cost-revenue structure.
  • Quality & Consistency: Committed to developing standard processes that will maintain quality and consistency as other team members take over operations.
  • Feedback: Committed to capturing customer and beneficiary feedback to validate the product/service for the segments.
  • Recruitment: Capacity to recruit team members with more specialized skills to take over day-to-day operations.
  • Measurement: Disciplined to lead the adoption of metrics to manage the business and track impact.

Deepen Your Growth with Competency-Specific Resources

NESsT developed the Idea2Entrepreneur Talent Tool with support from the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs, Cisco, The Lemelson Foundation and The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.