Social entrepreneurship or social ventures are businesses of which its main goal is to create sustainable social value. This kind of business model is transforming the traditional way the world does business into a more socially responsible one. Mohammad Yunus is the greatest representative of social entrepreneurship in the world; however, it is the generation of the so-called millennials the one setting the pace into this new admirable trend.
The Entrepreneurial Series of this week is dedicated to Colombian social venture, ID Social, which was recently selected to participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Iniciative (YLAI) as recognition of its leadership capacity to contribute to the economic and social development of society.
ID Social was co-founded in 2014 by Marcela Falquez and Julio Mario de León, who are both Colombian alumni of Universidad de los Andes.
This is the story of how ID Social was born, as told by its CEO and co-funder Marcela Falquez.
Stephlacouture: What is ID Social?
Marce Falquez: ID Social is a non-profit organization created once we identified the need from NGO´s and social programs of accessing corporate and business tools, in order to properly develop their businesses or projects.
We identified an opportunity to transfer tools from the business world to the social world and vice versa, seeking to create a transformation in our communities by supporting social ventures that promote economic, social and environmentally friendly results. Our goal is that with our support, these ventures stop depending on donations, seek self-sustaining income generation, and continue to have an impact on society.
ID Social impacts non-profit entities, entrepreneurs, and companies in the sense that it promotes a new way of working, by closing the gap between a traditional business, which focused solely on income generation, and a traditional social project that just depends on donations and philanthropy.
Stephlacouture: What products/services do you offer?
MF: Project structuring: Project structuring and design to generate impact and develop a sustainable and coherent business model.
Project management and operation: Focused on organizations that seek to outsource project management and implementation solutions.
Managerial support: Training services designed specifically for non-profits and entrepreneurs, on business and corporate themes, aimed at institutional strengthening.
Stephlacouture: What drove you to found a social business and why is it worth it?
MF: It was our love for volunteer work and our passion for service. Both Julio and I had jobs in the real sector and in the financial and public sectors respectively. But we never really felt satisfied with our jobs. Instead, we loved to do volunteer work and that is how we realized that it was what we really wanted to do. Then, we started reading about professor Muhammad Yunus and the work that he did, and realized that there were actual opportunities to work for a better world and to create social good in the process. That is how we decided to become social entrepreneurs. It was never an option for us to launch a traditional business.
Stephlacouture: What was one of your major achievements and why is it so?
MF: One of our greatest achievements was to be selected among the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, YLAI, of the U.S. State Department. It was an incredible opportunity to gain knowledge, validate our business model, explore new ways to grow and scale ID Social, and generate an international network of fellows. There were more than 4.000 applications and only 250 were selected, from all Latin America and the Caribbean, to be in a 6-week full paid program in the U.S.
Stephlacouture: What has been one of the mayor difficulties you have faced and how did you overcome it?
MF: The most difficult thing we have faced in this entrepreneurial journey is getting that first client. We couldn’t figure out how to show what we wanted to achieve with ID Social, and why it was worth paying for. After several months of hard work, we identified that partnering with a more experienced organization would increase our possibilities, and so we did: we built a strategic partnership with Centro RS, an experienced organization that promotes and encourages Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives in Colombia. Once we had this partnership solid and strong, we immediately showed our potential customers that our proposal was worth it, and so we closed our first deal.
Stephlacouture: What would you advice someone who wants to start its own social business?
MF: I would suggest the same advice that was given to us in the program that I was just part of in the U.S., “you have to fall in love with the problem, more so than the solution”. One must keep in mind which is the problem you are trying to solve, why this problem is relevant for society, and what skills or knowledge you have to propose the solutions.
Stephlacouture: What role has social media played in the success of your business, if any?
MF: Social media has played an interesting role in ID Social, especially regarding brand positioning and communication of the projects we work with. Through social media we manage to get to people outside of our inmediate network. It is very gratifying when people know our brand and what we promote, before we have even met them!
Stephlacouture: How can we contact ID Social?
MF: Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through social media:
Facebook: IDSocialCO / Instagram: idsocial / Twitter: IDSocialCO.