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Scaling Your Social Enterprise

Scaling a Social Enterprise from The Startup Garage

There are two ways to scale your social enterprise: through organizational growth or through other forms of increasing social impact beyond the organizational boundaries.

Organizational growth is the internal changes made aimed at maximizing social impact, such as diversifying into other services or activities, serving more people by increasing employment number and hours, starting a new site, and winning new contracts.  Scaling a social enterprise with organizational growth requires financial and management expertise, as well as incorporation of growth models such as M&A drawn from the private sector.  Two examples of mass-scale social enterprise are Mexico-based Gente Nueva and Bangladesh-based BRAC.  Watch an interview with Gente Nueva’s social entrepreneur, Jose Hernandez.  Watch an in-depth panel interview on scaling the BRAC social enterprise (beginning at 17:00).

Increasing social impact beyond organizational boundaries includes creating alliances to get resources and political support, creating “spin out” organizations, social franchising, establishing or supporting quality standards for best practices, and providing material or training to others.*  This includes the idea of networked social entrepreneurship, which aims to achieve greater impact by creating a network of collaborators and partners.  This method of scaling a social enterprise increases the possibility of innovation and experimentation as the members of the network complement the efforts of the other members.  The Impact Alliance is a Washington D.C.-based network that aims to improve the scale of impact of member organizations and is a great place to start looking for resources to expand a social enterprise.


*Lyon, Fergus and Heather Fernandez.  “Strategies for scaling up social enterprise: lessons from early years providers.”  Social Enterprise Journal 18.1 (2012): 63-77.  Print.


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