Lean Startup for Social Impact
Strategies for New and Established Businesses to Change the World
Co-authors: Karen Lee, Wander Meijer, Catus Lee, Ivy Lau, Marcus Lim
DreamVentures – A Platform for Collect Impact
In the last Blog, I told you about our attempts to make Lean Startup accessible to social impact organizations. The challenge has been to find a business model that could be sustainable and scalable.
In the current Blog, I am excited to let you know that we are embarking on even a bigger initiative that has the potential of leveraging the Lean Startup methodology to transform the ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in Hong Kong.
Below is the invitation letter that I have been sending out to prospective partners.
AN INVITATION TO YOU
FROM K K TSE
A PLATFORM FOR COLLECTIVE IMPACT
You are invited to join a unique Platform to accelerate the development of your organization and to create collective impact.
I am excited to let you know that Education for Good has teamed up with a leading industrialist, Mr YS Lam, to create a brand new platform to provide the following services tailored to your development needs:
Capacity Enablers –
Lean Startup training and coaching
Guerrilla and social media marketing
Central support services, e.g. accounting, legal, etc.
Debt and equity financing
Business Enablers –
Shared client networks
Corporate ‘Buy Social, Buy Local’ program
Channels to B Corps (aspiring and certified)
Scale-up strategy consulting
Spatial Enablers –
Co-working and event space for resident partners
Event space for non-resident partners
Location: 3-minute walk from Lai Chi Kok MTR station
Area: 12,600 sq.ft.
Space for: Co-working – from 2-person to 10-person
Impact Theatre – seating capacity 100+
Activities rooms – different sizes
Co-creators: Y S Lam and K K Tse
KK and YS have known each for over 45 years, since university days.
YS is a retired industrialist who has founded a social enterprise running two optical shops adopting a ‘Buy One, Give One’ model; for any sale of a pair of glasses, another pair will be provided free of charge to persons in need.
KK was a corporate executive who became an entrepreneur in his latter part of business career. Since retirement he has been active in promoting social entrepreneurship, and more recently, B Corps.
Who should join this Platform
We are looking for Partners only, not members, or tenants.
There are two types: Resident Partners and Non-resident Partners.
Resident Partners are those who will be using both the co-working and event space of the premises.
Non-resident Partners are those who will be using the event space only.
What both Partners share:
Dreams for a better society and the passion to make things happen
Stand to gain from the range of services that the Platform is providing (see above)
Ready to share experience, resources, networks with fellow partners
For each partner we will assist them to craft/refine a Dream Statement and a set of 3-year targets.
Partners are encouraged to share their Dream Statement and targets with fellow Partners, as well as supporting each other to achieve the targets.
For the Platform as a whole, we will measure our success in terms of the extent that our Partners’ targets are achieved.
Our goal is to have at least 80% of the Partners being able to realize their targets. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that this goal will be met.
We are currently recruiting the first 10 Resident Partners and 10 Non-resident Partners.
What we are NOT
We are not a conventional co-working space, although we offer rental space for your teams. Unlike most co-working spaces where the tenants are left to their own devices to swim or sink, we take a completely different approach. We are highly selective in recruiting our Partners and only admit those who share our dreams and will stand to gain a tremendous lot from our services and support. Above all, we deliberately require them to share with us their dreams and targets so that we could mobilize our resources and networks to help them succeed.
We are not an incubator or accelerator in the conventional sense. For one thing, we do not provide any grants to our Partners. We do provide training and coaching – indeed, we will insist that they master the lean startup methodology as it is a vital tool for startup success. More fundamentally, we are working primarily with startups that have been set up for at least one or two years, with a small team of more or less permanent staff and a product/service that is being tested in the market. It is with such teams that we intend to invest in helping them clarify their dreams and formulate some concrete targets.
We are not limiting ourselves only to social enterprises. In fact, we see the emergence of a growing number of Certified B Corps in Hong Kong which are for-profit companies using business to tackle a range of social and environmental issues. They are natural allies of social enterprises as all aspiring and Certified B Corps have to demonstrate their contribution to the local community. Social enterprises and B Corps could work together in a win-win manner to create more social impact. At the same time, we also welcome units from non-profit organizations to become our Partners, either as social enterprises or initiatives in service innovation.
A note on our name DreamVentures夢創成真 – A Platform for Collective Impact
In coming up with a name for this new initiative, Education for Good has drawn on its experience in the past few years in educating and nurturing social entrepreneurs. From their observations, by far the most glaring shortcoming among aspiring social entrepreneurs is the lack of a bold dream. Without a compelling dream that one is passionately committed to realize, there is usually not enough motivation to put in the hard work to acquire new skills and to break old habits in the journey of launching a social venture. We therefore want to highlight this in our name.
In Chinese, we call it 夢創成真, not 夢想成真, to emphasize that we plan to make our dreams come true through entrepreneurship, not daydreaming.
Above all, we want to create a Platform where the Partners within it stand a much better chance of achieving success than if they operate entirely on their own.
Just imagine: if indeed 80% of our Partners achieve their 3-year targets together, the collective impact of the Platform will be formidable.
How much does it cost to join the Platform?
You will be amazed how cost-effective it is for our Partners.
First of all, we intend to provide most of our services to our Partners (Resident and Non-resident alike) free of charge.
Second, for the small range of services that we intend to charge a fee, we will adopt the Pay-for-Results model. That is to say, you need to pay only when you are totally satisfied with the results created.
Third, you do need to pay for the space that you want to use, either for co-working or event purposes. But the rate of charges will be similar to those in other co-working or event space.
For example, a Resident Partner will pay for the working space that its team occupies and other rental charges for organizing events, such as exhibition, workshops, training classes, social gatherings, etc.
A Non-resident Partner will pay for rental charges of the space used at the same rate as Resident Partners.
Fourth, if you need any of the central support services, such as accounting and legal advice, you need to pay for it, but at a rate much lower than the market with greater convenience and peace of mind.
There are many other intangible benefits that you do not need to pay for, including, but not limiting to, the following:
On-site experts that you could consult any time, including KK Tse and his team at Education for Good (which will of course be based at DreamVentures)
Network(s) of fellow Partners that you could make use of
Free access to the best library on social innovation and entrepreneurship
Free advice on debt and equity finance and introduction to prospective investors
Enhanced opportunities for media attention and coverage
In short, we are offering to you a package of services and benefits that are designed to enable you to realize your dream and achieve your targets.
To find out more or to have a site visit, you could contact
K K Tse at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our project manager Derek Yip at email@example.com or +852 9472 7891, or Freddy Law at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any Education for Good directors or staff that you know of.
We look forward to welcoming you to this unique Platform and create collective impact together.