Start-up social enterprises

We consider that start-up social enterprises are those organisations less than 3 years old. Our research identified the main challenges of early stage social enterprises as:

  • attracting customers
  • developing a business model that is sustainable in the long-term
  • not being dependent on public funding and other sources of grants
  • overcoming the struggle to meet the threshold levels for trading income

Even though I was familiar with the business model canvas, I had never applied it to a service organisation and certainly not to a social enterprise. The guidance around it was useful. It is a great model for any kind of business

Our resources

In response to the above issues, the Spark project has developed and tailored information and tools for start-ups.  We have created mysocialstartup.eu, an online learning platform, which offers access to sixteen thematic modules, covering a variety of topics, such as prototyping, legal considerations, marketing, growth and scalability and impact assessment. Each module includes examples of real world best practice, a handy worksheet with exercises, videos and insider tips.

My Social Startup web portal
Our bespoke e-learning web portal guides social entrepreneurs through all the key business issues – providing information gathered by those ‘in the know’ and from social entrepreneurs that have ‘been there and done that’. Our modules provide tools and worksheets for you to develop skills and knowledge that will take the early ideas for your social enterprise to the next level.


Visit MySocialStartup

Our Social Enterprise Innovation Accelerator Network (SEIAN) is a platform for all social entrepreneurs, support organisations and stakeholders to discuss the issues raised in developing and delivering social enterprise activity in the EU. The ‘virtual’ group is hosted online within LinkedIn.

Innovation Roadmap workbook for Startup-SEs

Together with our Innovation Roadmap document this workbook will help guide you through the innovation process to develop new social enterprise ideas.

Download here
Other useful resources

Visit our Resource page for all resources produced and collated by the Spark Project

SPARK resources