How did you scale your social innovation and what tips for scaling could you share?

 

You are a social innovator who wants to make a positive impact to the world and implement your initiative? This article will give you some practical advice on how your social innovation can increase its chances of success.

The following answers are provided by 8 social entrepreneurs from different fields, sectors and countries who turned their ideas into a successful social innovation reality.

As the Founder and current President of the Cibervoluntarios Foundation, Yolanda Rueda explains, “To do so and achieve these goals, the foundation counts on a network of 1.500 cybervolunteers all over Spain to provide free digital training to many different collectives at the risk of social exclusion through specific programs”.

Yolanda Rueda, Cibervoluntarios

According to the CEO of Fresh Check and one of the 2017 Forbes 30-under-30 entrepreneurs, “I’m not sure I can answer this question very well; we’ve not done much in the way of scaling yet! From a network perspective, we simply had to work hard attending conferences, events and simply contacting people until we met people in the know… To scale our actual product sales, we deal with a distributor. This has removed the need for our small number of staff to ship to individual companies and has relieved some of the burden of marketing! If you do need someone to make your product for you (and you’re in the UK!) then I’d recommend contacting the BCMPA who help put us in contact with our manufacturers!

Alex Bond, Fresh Check

“To scale up a project, you need people who support your project with manpower (or womanpower). For the Re-Button our next target group is teachers. So we decided to offer courses especially for teachers. In the ‘Teach-the-Teacher’ they will learn to produce the Re-Button with the press mould. Then they can borrow the press mould and tool for free to make the Re-Button with their classes at their schools. For the students, it is a benefit if they can make something practical while learning about recycling”, declares Chris Obrist, a media artist who is among the scientific staff of FABLAB LUZERN and initiator of Re-BUTTON.

Chris Obrist, Re-BUTTON

“As said before, in Gaza Khaled’s good work and ‘word of mouth’ did it. At a certain point there was even a waiting list for new young students… During the first year some of Khaled’s co-students offered to help as well. A good thing, as he was offered an internship in Washington as well thanks to ‘New Story Leadership’. In my opinion he had earned it fully, because he had already shown leadership through compassion and commitment”, shares Peter Frühmann, CEO from StoryBag and an expert in the field of narrative techniques and storytelling, with over 30 years of experience.

Peter Frühmann, Story Bag

In the words of one of the 2017 Forbes 30-under-30 entrepreneurs and winner of the European Youth Award Digital Solutions with Social Impact, “I been very key early on and during our scaling to reach out to different magazines, blogs or interest groups about DayCape message. This has led to that we retained an organic broths of organisation publishing our story, what DayCape is and why it’s important. This has also lead to a chain reaction where organizations start to share other organizations publications regarding DayCape. My advice would be to reach out as much as possible and make sure to have a message that is easy to share.

Anton Håkanson, DayCape

 

 

“The way we are actually scaling our project is through the reinforcement of participation and involvement of the population and local groups and associations in solving their own problems, by means of a structured massive experimental methodology of living/social labs (for example, our local lab is http://www.mainova.es/)” declares Alejandro Hernández Renner, CEO of Fundación Maimona who has been working on innovation, rural development and entrepreneurship for over 25 years, both in Spanish as well as international organizations.

Alejandro Hernández Renner, Fundación Maimona

 

“In the first phases we did not consider scaling, we were merely satisfied with our status. However, after half a year working on the toys, we decided to step up to a bigger project: ‘Social Activation for long-term unemployment people’. We realized we had a product which could be presented as a social innovation and help people (with or without disabilities) to get back to work and have a full time job, while at the same time learning new social skills, become independent and increase their self-esteem. All with the aim of increasing their social inclusion…” says Matjan Cojhter, General manager and founder of AVANTUS employment centre whose social innovation can be summarised in one single line: “Turning non-useful socks into toys”.

Matjan Cojhter, AVANTUS

 

According to the co-founder of SOFFA, a program that provides training and work integration to women victims of Human Trafficking SGBV (Sex Gender-Based Violence) & Refugee Women in the eco-sustainable fashion industry, “SOFFA program has seen a huge rise in demand as it is said to resolve the main issue of work integration and skill development that those women need to stay off the streets and away from exploitation. 18 NGOs that provide front-line support to victims and refugees have applied to SOFFA programs and 77 beneficiaries have already registered. To accommodate for this demand SOFFA is now opening a Full-Time vocational training program targeted only to women trainees in its own Tailoring Production unit in downtown Athens and a pilot replication training program in A21 human trafficking shelter house in Thessaloniki.

SOFFA aims to gradually sponsor the bigger part of its training and work inclusion program from the selling of goods. SOFFA works on an order-based production rather than bulk production to avoid creating stock. Training happens in real orders which are sold to local & international customers”…

Fiori Zafeiropoulou, Social Fashion Factory, SOFFA

 

Want to know more what other Social Innovators think about their projects/initiatives, their ideas, their challenges, their plans for the future, and their lessons learned. Check out the Social Innovation Academy for more interviews, answers and other topics related to social innovation.

 

It will be the first Social Innovation Academy in Europe, with a fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation, developed EOLAS, Limitless and with 3 other partners.

 

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