Social entrepreneurs in Baltimore are working to grow sustainable ventures and make change, all while working in a relatively new kind of business model.
It’s a big undertaking, and the founders often rely on outside help as they navigate areas like raising capital, running operations, marketing and legal requirements.
The people who provide that advice are an important, if less heralded, part of the social enterprise community, and this summer a program is looking to offer them support.
The Strategy School for Service Providers, a five-month program, is holding its first cohort at Imapct Hub Baltimore starting in June. Programming is developed by Baltimore-based Twilight Quest, founded by Q-Roc Ragsdale.
According to Impact Hub Baltimore Executive Director Michelle Geiss, about 30 percent of the Station North hub’s members are involved in capacity building or consulting work.
The aim is “to develop a cohort of independent contractors and service providers that are themselves small businesses that are poised to do a lot of good support for social entrepreneurs.”
Being small firms, they run into many of the same challenges as social innovators, Geiss said. Programming for the initial cohort of 8-10 members will look at business development, operations and marketing strategy, with a focus on the nuances of helping social entrepreneurs. It starts with a 12-week course, and also includes peer coaching and an online component.
The idea is that helping to strengthen that these providers will in turn make social enterprises stronger, Geiss said.
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