Rural Enterprise: Lessons from the field, the mountains & the plains


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Rural Enterprise: Lessons from the field, the mountains & the plains

The Social Enterprise Summit 2009
April 17th 2009

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  • 08/02/10 19:58 Go over agenda Go in to detail of the learning goals… Understand what it means to be or have a social enterprise Be aware of the key characteristics of organizations with successful social enterprises Know if your organization is ready to tackle social enterprise Identify potential social enterprise opportunities Have a plan of action for your organization
  • 08/02/10 19:58 All in rural communities, with primarily agricultural economies in the midst of rapid change, characterized by high unemployment rates and high poverty, changing demographics All offer some sort of children’s and family services All belong to the Family Resource Center Association, a network of 24 family centers throughout Colorado--the red dots
  • Based on their Comprehensive Organizational Assessment, centers received advance technical assistance and/or consulting to prepare them for the NCSE program. Oct. & Nov. 2007 Oct. & Nov. 2007 Oct. & Nov. 2007
  • 08/02/10 19:58
  • Rural Enterprise: Lessons from the field, the mountains & the plains

    1. 1. Rural Enterprise: Lessons from the field, the mountains & the plains The Social Enterprise Summit 2009 Janine Vanderburg, J.D., President, JVA Consulting April 17, 2009
    2. 2. What we will share today… <ul><li>Background of the project, participating organizations and their communities </li></ul><ul><li>How we adapted the National Center for Social Entrepreneurs curriculum & approach for rural communities </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons learned along the way </li></ul>
    3. 3. Project Overview <ul><li>3 family resource centers in rural communities across Colorado </li></ul><ul><li>Already engaged in capacity building with JVA </li></ul><ul><li>Participated in year-long social enterprise program (training and business planning) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>October 2007-October 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Used combination of methods, adapting NCSE approach </li></ul><ul><li>Each family center developed enterprise: Now in 1st 6 months of operation </li></ul>
    4. 4. Colorado communities Rural Communities Resource Center Tri-County Family Care Center LaLlave Family Resource Center
    5. 5. Organization goals in SE <ul><li>Create jobs/increase client skills </li></ul><ul><li>Community economic development </li></ul><ul><li>Diversify center revenues </li></ul>
    6. 6. Building capacity before social enterprise planning <ul><li>All 3 centers involved in capacity-building initiative JVA was doing with 24 family centers across the state </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehensive Organizational Assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeted technical assistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quarterly group workshops/peer networking </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. The social enterprise program <ul><li>National Center for Social Entrepreneurs (NCSE) approach </li></ul><ul><li>Cohort model; 6-8 participants selected through a rigorous process </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of leadership team </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly training/cohort meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Development of business plan </li></ul><ul><li>Individual consultation and technical assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation to prospective funders </li></ul><ul><li>Fellows Academy </li></ul>
    8. 8. NCSE Curriculum Approach <ul><ul><li>I.D.E.A. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PathFinder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RoadMap </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Challenges in rural communities <ul><li>Insufficient # of organizations in any given area </li></ul><ul><li>Distance/travel barriers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual TA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Desired leadership team members may not be able to participate in day-long sessions </li></ul><ul><li>Small organizations with limited staff </li></ul>
    10. 10. Challenges specific to this initiative <ul><li>Concepts of market “pull”—following customers seemed counter to what we had been teaching in fundraising—Do NOT chase the funding! </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of social enterprises in any of these communities as models </li></ul><ul><li>SNOW! </li></ul>
    11. 11. Fears <ul><li>Staff felt they were “creating new programs”, contrary to strategic direction of prior capacity building </li></ul><ul><li>Concern it would take too much time </li></ul><ul><li>And, of course, culture: </li></ul><ul><li>“ We can’t charge fees!” </li></ul>
    12. 12. Things we’ll do next time <ul><li>Bring all staff affected together in a cohort meeting to talk through program, benefits, obtain input, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Add to readiness assessment specific questions on how much time leaders have available per month for duration of the project </li></ul>
    13. 13. Adaptation: Selection & Assessment <ul><li>Selection: We picked groups that we felt were ready based on our prior work with them and who expressed enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>Risk/readiness assessment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group meeting with CEO/EDs, with training on how to use assessment in their groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>JVA analyzed the results and provided feedback by phone </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Adaptation: 2 Day Pathfinder <ul><li>Shortened to 1 1/2 days </li></ul><ul><li>CEOs/EDs participated </li></ul><ul><li>Covered travel costs and hosted dinner </li></ul><ul><li>Also trained staff of Family Center association for ongoing support </li></ul><ul><li>Designed community brainstorming process for everyone to use back in their communities </li></ul>
    15. 15. Results of community brainstorming <ul><li>Alamosa: From recycling waste potatoes or transportation project, to party favors </li></ul><ul><li>Tri-County: Low-cost family entertainment, producing memory CDs </li></ul><ul><li>Yuma: Explored food and garden-related, ended up with core competency of sewing </li></ul>
    16. 16. Adaptation: Cohort curriculum delivery <ul><li>“Stacked” sessions to reduce # of trips </li></ul><ul><li>On one trip, arranged visits to social enterprises in Denver </li></ul><ul><li>Used webinars </li></ul>
    17. 17. Successes <ul><li>Leadership teams brought local perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Farmers, ranchers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As project progressed, one family center started charging for previously free classes </li></ul><ul><li>Another strengthened relationships with Latino community </li></ul><ul><li>All identified business opportunities geared to local needs </li></ul><ul><li>All completed business plans and have started something… </li></ul><ul><li>One center has secured start-up funding </li></ul>
    18. 18. The presentations…
    19. 19. Rural Communities Resource Center
    20. 20. Reflections, from Tri-County
    21. 21. La Llave Creations
    22. 22. La Llave’s Team
    23. 23. Some start-up cash…
    24. 24. For more information: Janine Vanderburg, [email_address] 800.292.9551