Monday, September 29, 2008

Social Enterprise needed more than ever?

Unscathed by the declaration by the Wall Street Journal and Republican pundits of the failure of social enterprise and social mandates (in response to the demise of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), we’ve just been keeping our heads down and aggressively pursuing our work to create nationally scaled social enterprises that we will be able to bring to market and pilot within the next year.

Here is some of our progress over the past three months on the development process:

  • Evaluated eight new “phase I” businesses that entered our pipeline for compatibility and fit with our social enterprise feasibility criteria for phase II. Two of these businesses passed through for phase II analysis and are being evaluated in our pipeline.

  • Completed two complete feasibility analyses for a mattress/bulk item recycling business and a payroll advance business.

  • Developed significant relationships with waste haulers, recyclers, mattress and carpet retailers and other key partners to create competitive advantage within the mattress business

  • Conducted numerous interviews with necessary business partners for the alternative to pay day lending program
  • Leveraging Volunteer Resources To Make Our Workplan Possible:

    We have leveraged a significant amount of pro bono resources in support of our work. We’ve creating four critical partnerships with organizations that believe in our work and which have contributed significant amounts of resources to support our team. Our four key partners are Bain & Co, Net Impact, the design firm IDEO, and our co-tenants in San Francisco, Architecture for Humanity.

    • Managed 3 Net Impact teams: The first phase of our Net Impact partnership is their working with us to find 9 Net Impact business management volunteers to work with us on three critical teams. We focused the three teams on mattress recycling, employer based payroll advances, and deconstruction/waste management services.
    • Bain and Company Brainstorming Sessions: We have had two high engagement meetings with potential partners, industry experts and philanthropic partners facilitated by Bain & Co. Travis Pearson, a partner at the SF Bain office, has been an invaluable and hard working additional member of our team. In preparation for, and at these meetings, Travis brought in other Bain associates and partners with content knowledge in the industries we are examining. This week, we received an additional commitment from the firm of a “virtual team” of Bain associates to work with us.

    Idea Generation Competitions and Gatherings:

    • Architecture for Humanity and our Mattress Recycling Design Competition – We are currently running a national competition online in partnership with Architecture for Humanity to encourage product designers, students, and others interested in innovative ways to improve the environment through finding a re-use of the stuff inside mattresses we all throw away.

    • Discarded Dreams Mattress Competition - Lead Mattress Sponsor: Keetsa Eco Friendly Mattresses - Lead Sponsor: ISPA - Hosted by Rubicon National Social Innovations and Architecture for Humanity

    • IDEO, the award winning national design and planning firm, has been brought on board to facilitate a pro bono brainstorming session focused on “the next big social enterprise” and we’ve invited 50 folks from the social entrepreneurial and business community to help us think through some new ideas.

    • The Net Impact/Rubicon “Next Big Social Enterprise” Challenge invited 10,000 Net Impact members to submit their ideas and expand on others in an online competition focused on RNSI’s national scaling strategy. Results and further brainstorming will be reported out at the Net Impact National Conference in Philadelphia by RNSI staff.

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