Traits of a Successful Social Entrepreneur

 Isabel Medem is the Co-Founder and CEO of social enterprise X-Runner in Peru.

Isabel Medem is the Co-Founder and CEO of social enterprise X-Runner in Peru.

1: A key driver of the success of a social enterprise is the extent to which the entrepreneur's ability to leverage networks and ecosystem actors to help them grow their business.

The start of a New Year always feels like an opportunity for fresh beginnings. If you’re on the path of your own social entrepreneurship journey, we want to motivate you. So get out there and find your allies (hi!), engage them and build healthy relationships. 

Check out how Isabel, Co-Founder & CEO of X-Runner, engaged private and public partners to navigate the onerous process of entering the market as a hardware tech enterprise.  

Download Beyond the Lab: Changing Lives through Hardware Technology Enterprises

 Cristobal is a coffee farmer that works with social enterprise Cafe Compadre in Peru

Cristobal is a coffee farmer that works with social enterprise Cafe Compadre in Peru

2: Knowledge and respect for the communities with which one is working.

For a social enterprise to succeed, enterprise teams need to rely on their empathetic relationships with employees, end users, and customers. Entrepreneurs must be familiar with the social problem they are interested in solving as well as the customers that will ensure their financial sustainability. This means pinpointing the interests, motivations, logic, and needs of the end users. This includes cultural factors.

NESsT Enterprises are selected because of their ability to create and scale dignified employment opportunities for marginalized communities. With respect and the inclusion of community members in key leadership positions, social enterprises are able to gain the trust and input necessary to really improve the lives of those who need it most.

Cristobal is featured in our new publication. His expertise gained as a coffee farmer has been valuable to the growth of Cafe Compadre, an enterprise that has secured up to 70% higher incomes for Peruvian coffee farmers. 

 The YAQUA team gathered to share information about the social enterprise at the Lab4 Conference in Peru in 2016.

The YAQUA team gathered to share information about the social enterprise at the Lab4 Conference in Peru in 2016.

3: Focus and ability to respond to changes at all levels.

Running a social enterprise is very similar to running a regular business in that it requires a leadership team with all types of skills, including sales, marketing, product development, and management. Social enterprises have an uphill battle in securing early-stage financing, and must be prepared to respond and adapt quickly.

Beyond selecting the right people to take on this feat, our tip is to manage the mechanical tasks diligently, especially financials. We find that many enterprises have not been tracking their financials in a way that allows them to make projections. Better planning provides the tools you need to make sound decisions in times of uncertainty or change.

Read more about YAQUA in Beyond the Lab and how they were able to achieve 1,500 points of sale for their product.