WILMA’s SEED A Course for Leaders of Community-Based Development through Social Enterprise October 2008 World Institute for Leadership and Management in Africa www.wilma.us and www.wilma.us/archive
What is WILMA’s SEED?
WILMA’s SEED is a course of instruction and mentoring for small groups of future leaders of Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship for Development (SEED).
SEED creates opportunities for undergraduate students with outstanding leadership potential who will be graduating from the world’s top universities.
The SEED program starts formally with a two-week seminar conducted by a WILMA Senior Mentor, who adopts, prepares, instructs, mentors, and champions a group of (about) six students who are taking this course.
The seminar may be held in any participating college or university with which WILMA has reached an agreement.
This course plants the “seed” of a sustainable social enterprise that, if successful, will reward this group with profit, work, and accomplishment over their lifetimes.
What Do Students Learn in the Seminar?
The group surveys key contributions to the theory and practice of social enterprise and entrepreneurship for development, testing its capacity to analyze this material.
The group acquires a shared vision of comprehensive, community-based, grass-roots development.
The group studies current business models that are suited to the pursuit of this vision, including the WILMA Business Ecosystem, with its basic module, the Joint Venture Commercial Estate (or “JVCE”).
The group conceives a plan for a JVCE serving a specific community, with at least one profitable venture.
The group forms a “venture team” and starts the process of creating a detailed business plan for their JVCE, working with the leaders of the specified beneficiary, community- based organization (“CBO”).
Services of the Course (1 of 2)
WILMA’s SEED serves students of the course through Social Enterprise Incubation Centers (SEICs).
These are the functions of SEICs:
act as host organizations for the Seminar in collaboration with nearby universities
help the student groups (“venture teams”) to engage assistance from graduate schools of management and relevant technical fields
teach short courses in business, management, and technology that are pertinent to each group’s needs
Services for SEED Alumni (2 of 2)
More functions of SEICs:
build capacity in community-based organizations (CBOs) to own social enterprises, partnering with development agencies (NGOs, churches, civil society)
connect plans for JVCEs and their enterprises with national and global micro-finance
engage larger businesses (“nodal firms”) as partners of JVCEs and their enterprises
contract with WILMA Network Partners as mentors to help each venture team to achieve success in building its JVCE
A Social Enterprise Incubation Center organizes student venture teams, CBO leaders, and WILMA Network Partners to work with these institutional partners of SEED:
established businesses producing goods and services for local use, having an interest in investing in production on JVCEs
one or more colleges or universities, preferably nearby, that are interested in education for SEED
development agencies (NGOs, churches, civil society) that support community-based, community-owned social business as a way to sustain local progress
global providers of micro-finance for SEED, operations, which they see as a way to leverage their help through the incubation of social business
Why Universities Are Interested in SEED
The Executive Perspective: The university acquires a new role as incubator of community-based social enterprises worldwide, led by its own students, who thereby build their ethical intelligence and social responsibility.
The Faculty Perspective: Diverse university courses acquire links to experiential learning through the conception, planning, and implementation of social businesses, with results that inform these courses and their teachers.
The Student Perspective: Students interested in developmental leadership acquire a sense of life mission that frames their academic studies and energizes all aspects of their university life: mental, physical, social and religious.
Why Businesses Are Interested in SEED Building reputation: investing in the education of SEED’s select elite maximizes Good Will in the target markets of the future and builds personal relationships there. Creating markets: a SEED Ecosystem demands new technologies, equipment, and processes in underserved areas, creating markets for innovative suppliers worldwide. Creating reliable supply: a SEED ecosystem builds reliable, scalable, and quality-assured supplies of primary and value-added products boasting a local brand. Creating Joint Ventures: established businesses may be JV partners of community-based social enterprises, underpinning good management and profitable outcomes. Diversifying careers: WILMA’s SEED creates a recruitment pool for JV partners, which in turn provide diverse career opportunities.
Why Development Agencies are interested in SEED
Local Initiative, Control, and Responsibility (what WILMA calls LICR) is necessary for bottom-up development that is driven by well-educated entrepreneurial energy.
Financial independence (freedom of control by donors) is necessary for LICR.
Successful business is necessary for financial independence.
The SEED Ecosystem is the best way to organize business so that it achieves the social objectives of development: a just, peaceful, and free society that protects and grows the common wealth by harnessing education to the entrepreneurial energy of its citizens.
Development agencies can use SEED to channel funds from the growing, global micro-finance industry, thus becoming financial intermediaries for community-based, grassroots development.
A Unique Opportunity for Students (1 of 2)
While dealing with subjects normally taught to graduate students, WILMA’s SEED appeals to undergraduate juniors who are planning their postgraduate futures.
The Seminar itself is the initial practical experiment of a self-organizing group in developmental leadership: the group initiates, organizes, leads, and pays for it, with the guidance of a Senior Mentor and help from an SEIC.
The group’s goal is to create a social enterprise of a certain structure that serves a specified community in a location that they determine—again, with comprehensive help from an SEIC. This structure is called a Joint Venture Commercial Estate (JVCE).
A Unique Opportunity for Students ( 2 of 2)
The power and responsibility to lead is vested in students dedicated to a mission on the basis of a shared community of interest (or affinity).
This affinity group may become the management team of their JVCE or have other roles in its progress. The founding management team will normally hold equity.
The location of the social enterprise should be a place that one or more of the students know intimately, and the interest of the group in this place is a basis for its affinity.
The students view this course as a career potentially engaging their lifelong interest, whether as owners, managers, investors, or professionals.
Qualifications for Students (1 of 2)
Strong interest to take advantage of the unique features of WILMA’s SEED
Ability to play a leadership role within a team dedicated to its mission
A record of academic achievement in diverse fields of the liberal arts (including science and engineering)
Experience of study, travel and project development in diverse cultures
Qualifications for Students (2 of 2)
Knowledge of a specific place and its culture that is a potential location for a social enterprise of interest to the group
Fluency in English, use of electronic media, practical business skills
Personality: confident, innovative, forceful in discussion, good listener, shows empathy, sensitivity to cultural differences, humility
How Communities Benefit (1 of 2)
Communities benefiting from WILMA’s SEED are defined by areas of residence (villages, towns, urban areas, anywhere).
These communities are represented by Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) that are associations of their members, which are heads of households residing in the given area.
The CBOs are certified by an SEIC as being democratically governed, dedicated to the service of their members, not corrupt, legally registered, financially accountable under local law, and able to own and manage part ownership of a social enterprise.
How Communities Benefit (2 of 2)
This social enterprise has a particular structure and is called a Joint Venture Commercial Estate, or JVCE—a kind of industrial park.
CBOs acquire equity ownership of JVCEs by contributing land, security, local knowledge of needs and business opportunities, connections to government, cultural assets, skills, and labor.
Communities benefit from their CBOs through the profits, products, and employment generated by their JVCEs.