Starting your own social enterprise

By Ana Cordera

In yesterday’s seminar about social enterprises led by Brian Hill, CEO of Edovo, a company that seeks to reduce recidivism and offer educational opportunities to inmates by providing tablet-technology, Hill focused on the ideal process when building one’s own business.

He spoke about the shortcomings and limitations in the nonprofit world and offered his best advice when it comes to social entrepreneurship. Hill said it’s important to keep your personal burn rate low (one’s own personal spending), to get married to the outcome, not the idea and to go sell.

“Sell the vision, sell the message,” he said. “You want people to believe and see your passion.”

As Hill emphasized the importance of believing in one’s own personal message, he shared anecdotes of when he was just starting out with his company. He said he knew that if he didn’t act on his vision, no one else was going to.  

Additionally, when presenting to investors, addressing the problem, the solution and selling yourself are the main points, Hill said. Yet, the most critical thing to do when one is just in the beginning stages of forming a social enterprise is focusing on execution.

“It’s not about who has the idea on something, it’s about who can execute,” he said. “Stop coming up with fancy ideas on white boards.”

Have a clear vision, execute on your ideas and understand that overnight success doesn't just happen, Hill added.

Throughout the seminar, delegates shared their personal projects and Hill offered feedback and engaged in conversation with them. He encouraged them to be passionate about their endeavors and to surround themselves with a great support network. Hill made sure to motivate the delegates and ended the seminar in a positive note.

“There are a lot of problems in this world and I truly believe we can solve [them],” he said.