This summer, social entrepreneurs across the NESsT portfolio participated in hands-on training and networked with business mentors, investors and peers through a series of retreats and workshops. Held in each country, these events gave enterprise leaders the opportunity to strengthen their business skills, exploring topics as varied as investment readiness, financial management best practices, marketing and social impact measurement.
Readying Enterprises for Investment
One of the key focuses of this year’s trainings was on how social enterprises can ready themselves for investment. Early-stage social enterprises cite securing funding as one of their top challenges. They operate in the “pioneer gap” -- well beyond the short-term support and grants offered to launch a new social enterprise but still not fully ready to take on more traditional funding from investors.
NESsT specializes in supporting these early-stage enterprises. NESsT makes long-term investments in early-stage social enterprises. At the same time, NESsT advises and offers valuable training that enables these enterprises to reach financial sustainability and scale.
Seed Funding and Training
CEOs of many NESsT enterprises honed their pitches to potential investors at Pitch Day sessions, where they received guidance and coaching from local business leaders.
"I think the financial support is crucial to have at the beginning," said Cristian Branea of Materia, a social enterprise that builds furniture from recycled materials in Romania. "I was lucky enough to win a competition, and this is how I secured the seed money for my business." Materia won the Made in Tara lui Andrei competition funded by OMV Petrom and run by NESsT in Romania.
"I wanted to participate [in the Pitch Day], because I really need some experience with pitching," Branea shared. "Eventually I will be looking for investors, so I need some practice pitching my business idea to other people. I think the experience was really good."
How You Can Help
Your support allows NESsT to provide these important trainings, delivering essential business skills to social enterprise leaders across Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. Donate to NESsT today, and help us empower social entrepreneurs with the valuable skills they need to make their businesses successful and to improve the lives of people in their communities.