How to raise money for your Social Enterprise

Looking for capital? In collaboration with Impact Hub Westminster, I’m running their first ever Impact Investment Readiness programme. We designed it to help social entrepreneurs find impact investment within the next 12 months. participants-2-500x500

In October 2014, we took our first cohort through the programme (pictured above), and got some great feedback.  If you are a social enterprise based in London, you can apply for the free programme until December 1st 2014.

Below you’ll find just a taste of some of the skills, tips and tricks that the #SocEnt startups were able to learn, and put into practice on the programme.

Play at the right level

You’ve heard of crowdfunding, you’ve watched Dragon’s Den, and you know you could get a loan from the bank. But which is right for you now?

Paul Grant talks about the different levels of the funding game.

For seed funding (£1k-£50k), you’ll be getting funding from your own savings, your friends, family, incubators, grants, competitions and rewards and loan-based crowdfunding. Maybe a mix of all of these.

Here a couple of my favourites at this level. writing-board-500x500

The next level up is early stage financing (£50k-£250k). Now you can start thinking about business angel networks, small funds, big grants, crowdlending and equity crowdfunding.  Check out ClearlySo, and Crowdcube.

Remember – it’s much better to start something small, and demonstrate cashflow and social impact now, rather than spend years writing plans and looking for investment to get started. You’d have to give away more ownership that way too, and you don’t want that.

Know your impact

Now you have an idea about the places to go for money. How are you going to show investors and funders that what you do makes a positive difference as part of its operations?

You’re going show them your “theory of change” –  What is social problem you are trying to solve, and how to your activities achieve it?

The Social Innovation Partnership talk about knowing your activities, your assumptions, your intermediate outcomes and your ultimate goal.

Funders of social enterprise will ask you to be clear about your project’s aim, and the outcomes that you intend to achieve. What is your theory of change?

19Practice your pitch and be ambitious

Annette Kramer has helped people pitch for Dragon’s Den. She says it’s all about starting conversations that listeners want to continue. Speak confidently about yourself and enterprise.

Learn the behavioural triggers of influence that will help you close the funding deal. Read Influence by Robert Cialdini. Surround yourself with ambitious, happy people.

The great thing about the Impact Investment Readiness programme is that it gives participants the time to meet and learn from each other. Just like my peer-to-peer learning journeys (ahem…did I mention award-winning), we can learn as much from our peers, as we can from experts. So spend time with your peers and experts as often as you can, and learn from them!

And don’t forget to smile. 🙂

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That’s all for now folks. Has this helped you think about way to raise money for your social enterprise?  Let me know in the comments. I read and respond to them all.

Read next:

3 ways to learn from your friends

How to start a social enterprise you love

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