This past weekend was the third annual GiveBackHack, a weekend event that draws together social innovators to develop a social enterprise concept in an intense 48 hour team effort.
Over the weekend, dozens of business concepts are worked on and vetted until Sunday evening, when each team offers a brief presentation of their concept and a panel of judges identifies those they feel have the most potential.
Some of the concepts that rose to the top were
- Brake the Cycle – to provide jobs and training to ex-offenders through bicycle repair
- Bust a Move – sports bras for girls that are practical and affordable
- Ears On – recycling and refurbishing hearing aids for low income foks
- Friendly App – a YELP or BBB for the LBGTQ community
- My Family Nurse – UBER for nursing help
- DACA Time – Turbotax for Dreamers filing complex Federal paper forms
But this by no means implies other concepts won’t also rise to the top as the ideas percolate and develop further.
The challenge of a weekend program, however, is what to do next. The unbelievably high energy of a weekend event can lose momentum quickly without some structure and guidance to hold the team and its energy together.
Working with GiveBackHack, the Center for Social Enterprise Development is taking a whack at the hack by offering the weekend participants an evening of structure. We name this trial program “Next Steps” because that is the challenge of weekend events: what should be the next steps? At this event we will offer a simple structure for what the teams should do next, as well as what they should not do yet. In addition, we will offer a panel of social enterprise lenders to offer straight talk about where the concept needs to be — and what the lenders need to see — before it is worthwhile for an entrepreneur to start talking about funding and capitalizing the business. As a first checkpoint, I am quite impressed by www.venturize.org as a filter for a startup to use to know what types of funders they are sufficiently prepared to approach.
We will see how well Next Steps is at providing some postpartum structure to weekend hacks. At a minimum, participants will get some free beer at the end!
Want some ideas on social enterprises you could start? Go look at the social impact profiles in our social enterprise directory. Want to attend some more events featuring entrepreneurship in Central Ohio? Check in regularly with our event listing. Want to learn more about social enterprise and how it uses business to create positive change in our community? Follow our blog, tweets, Facebook, and webpage.
Allen Proctor, President & CEO
Center for Social Enterprise Development