Source 9: Social Entrepreneurship - Creating a New Business Venture
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Source 9: Social Entrepreneurship - Creating a New Business Venture


Nonprofits serving older adults are in a good position to tap into new marketplace opportunities. Some creative aging programs are developing revenue-generating products and services to overcome reliance on traditional funding sources and become financially self-sufficient. 

We conducted a survey to explore how nonprofit providers are creating new income streams by targeting the private-pay market, launching business ventures, and forging strategic corporate partnerships. The research was funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Some of the things we learned:

  • Stick to your C’s.
    The closer you stick to your core competencies, capabilities, and constituencies, the more likely you’ll reduce planning time, start-up costs, and risks.

  • Examine your assets.
    Look creatively at your tangible assets like equipment, space, and vans—plus your intangible assets like your reputation, intellectual property, and unique expertise. Which assets are potential customers willing to buy—and are they profitable?

  • Identify your weaknesses.
    Partner with organizations whose strengths correspond to your weaknesses.

Discover more of what we learned.

More on Social Entrepreneurship

  • Promising Practices
    See how one aging services organization developed a successful social enterprise. Read a case study.
  • Advantages and Barriers
    Explore the advantages and disadvantages of starting a social enterprise. See our list.
  • Social Enterprise Assessment Exercise
    Evaluate your organization’s products, services, and core competencies to determine if you can create a new source of revenue. Get started.
  • Next Steps
    Want to start a social enterprise? Find the steps to success.

More Resources

Social Enterprise Alliance
This one-stop shop for social entrepreneurs also sponsors IdeaEncore Network, an online marketplace for sharing ready-to-use tools, presentations, course outlines, templates, and project plans among nonprofits. Explore the site.

Public Innovators
This organization introduces policymakers and government agencies to social entrepreneurship and guides them in identifying and advancing innovative, results-oriented solutions to pressing social problems. See what it has to offer.

America Forward
This coalition of more than 60 social entrepreneurs and high-impact organizations is working to connect social entrepreneurs with presidential campaigns and policymakers to present new visions for the role of entrepreneurship in social problem solving. Visit the site.

Americans for Community Development
This coalition encourages the use of program-related investments through L3C limited liability corporations to achieve socially beneficial goals. See how it works.

The Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program
This program offers research, leadership, and communications initiatives focused on critical nonprofit issues. Current initiatives focus on social entrepreneurship, foundation policy and practice, public policy, and seminars for foundation and nonprofit executives. Find out what’s available.

Community Wealth/The Democracy Collaborative
This site brings together information about a broad range of community wealth strategies, policies, models, and innovations. Explore the site.


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