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Acara Social Venture Workshops

Can you make a change in the world and make a living doing it? Social ventures, also known as impact or environmental ventures, are an idea that you can indeed do just that. While the notion isn't new, it is an idea that has been gaining increasing traction in the past few years and is creeping into many different types of businesses and non-profits globally.

The Acara program, part of the Institute on the Environment and the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota has been running international courses for the past several years on developing impact ventures. This experience is now being packaged into a series of evening workshops for people who are interested in understanding more about social entrepreneurship.

All sessions are two hours, from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.

Thursday, Feb 14. What's a Social Venture?
Thursday, March 7. The Business Model Canvas.
Thursday, April 4. Impact Investing.
Location: IonE Seminar room (R380), Learning and Environmental Sciences Building, 1954 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108. Directions are here.

Sessions are $30 each. Sign up here! Numbers are limited so don't delay.

A short summary of each class is below.

Feb 14. What's an Social Venture?

Impact ventures (also known as social ventures) are a growing area of interest and attraction as a way to both make positive social or environmental change and do well as a business. This session is an introduction to what makes an impact venture, what makes it both different and the same as a "regular" venture, and how impact is measured? Impact ventures have two value propositions: an economic one (just like any other business) and a social one. We'll spend time in this session on what is a social value proposition, how do you measure it, and how these two propositions fit together.

March 7. The Business Model Canvas: A framework for describing impact ventures.

The Business Model Canvas is a simple but effective way to develop and describe a venture. It's a tool developed through design thinking practices applied to many ventures around the world and is a rapidly growing tool. You don't need an MBA to understand it or use it, yet even MBAs will find it useful. It is important because impact businesses are still businesses and will live or die based on that. The business model canvas gives a common language to talk about the ventures.

April 4. Impact Investing. How to invest or find funding.

This session will be useful to both people interested in funding social ventures and also those who are seeking funding. As you might expect, the funding mechanisms for impact ventures are rapidly and continually evolving. Investments are necessary to make the movement real. What are existing ways, how does this work. This session will talk about traditional funders, social funds and crowd funding.

About the instructor: Fred Rose is a program director at the University of Minnesota and has more than 30 years experience across corporate, non-profit and academic settings. He has been on the founding team of ventures in three countries, has extensive experience in leading global teams and many years experience in teaching innovation.

If you have questions about the course, please email Fred Rose at fred.rose(at)acarainstitute.org.

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