Social enterprises are businesses with a mission to create positive social impact alongside financial returns. As most of these enterprises cater to the rural or peri-urban populations, they face unique challenges when it comes to scaling effectively.
Here are five tips from Villgro to build effective go-to-market channels to help one scale their social enterprise:
Build Your Impact Narrative: Your impact narrative should communicate your primary goal of creating a positive social impact while also highlighting your for-profit model. A compelling impact narrative will engage your customers and investors and show how your startup is making a difference in the lives of those it serves. It is also essential to capture your impact as well as your business metrics.
Identify Your True Consumers: Many social enterprises cater to digitally unaware rural populations such as farmers and small businesses. To reach these consumers, you need to figure out unique partnership models, such as working with farmer aggregators and organising physical gatherings to convey the value of your products
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Become a Value Chain Player: Social enterprises solve unique challenges that do not have an active market, hence you need to go beyond your solution and solve for the value chain. You need to create a market for your solution. For example, consider building forward and backward linkages, such as buying back the product created by farmers or providing raw materials at subsidized rates to enhance the value proposition of your solution.
Access Innovative Financing Solutions: Impact investing is growing in popularity, with several multilateral and international foundations exploring ways to mobilize private capital. Impact investing provides flexibility in capital for social enterprises to grow.
Ride the booming digital public infrastructure wave: With the growing open source solutions in India facilitated by the government, several opportunities have opened up for entrepreneurs to ideate and develop solutions at low costs, such as low-cost credit for climate smart solutions through OCEN, support artisans in market linkages through ONDC, etc.
Building an effective go-to-market channel for an early-stage startup can be a challenging task. However, with the right approach and support, it is possible.