Seems obvious: of course prior business experience is a big advantage when starting a social enterprise.
But now there’s evidence that this might not be correct. Research suggests that LESS experienced social entrepreneurs were MORE successful (in terms of revenue and social media network) compared to their MORE experienced colleagues. And the WORST performance came from social venture managers with BOTH entrepreneurial and nonprofit startup experience. Go figure.
Startup Experience Doesn’t Help Social Enterprises
How could this be? Lots of possible explanations, but one might just be that social enterprisers without prior entrepreneurial experience are not bound by the “rules” learned starting up a forprofit or nonprofit business.
Perhaps they don’t know what doesn’t work, so they find a way to make it work.
It may also be that since social enterprises merge both nonprofit and forprofit priorities, someone tied to either one of those models might have more difficulty functioning in a new environment that requires constant tradeoffs between the two models.
- Copyright © 2013 Rolfe Larson Associates
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- Speaker, Social Enterprise Summit, Minneapolis, May 19-22, 2013