This book provides what it promises to the reader, i.e. A financial guide for social entrepreneurs. It departs from the challenges that social entrepreneurs face to fund their ventures. We discuss three main challenges in this context: 1. Access to funding; 2. Complexity of business models; 3. Predominant focus on social impact. This book offers an overview of the different funding possibilities while presenting the main funding actors in Belgium as an illustration. Yet, we think that more is needed to survive the financial wilderness of social entrepreneurship. Therefore, we advise attention to a solid business model, supportive ecosystem, impact measurement and effective communication. The illustrative case studies and the presentation of ecosystem actors that can provide support to social entrepreneurs make this book a quite practical guide. All cases and ecosystem actors presented here come from the Belgian context, which is what we know best. We are confident that this Belgian view can inspire the international community as well. This book could be useful to social entrepreneurs, impact investors, universities, vocational training centers, corporates supporting social entrepreneurs, social impact incubators and accelerators, policymakers or everyone who wants to help a social enterprise in their journey. And please enjoy reading, our societies need more social entrepreneurship!
Nikolay A. Dentchev is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. He holds the Solvay Business School Chair of Social Entrepreneurship at VUB, with founding partners Close the Gap, BNP Paribas Fortis and Euroclear. Nikolay is a member of the Investment Committee of Trividend, member of the Ethical Committee of Solifin, an executive board member of the International Association for Business and Society and the International New Business Model Conference Series, and board of directors member at VUB related incubator ICAB nv. He is the co-organizer of the Social Entrepreneurship Summit. In addition to social entrepreneurship, Nikolay has been involved in the coordination of initiatives in support of student entrepreneurship for more than thirteen years at various universities (VUB, KU Leuven and UGent). Nikolay has also 7 years of professional experience in banking and finance, and more specifically related to credits of commercial banking, corporate banking, leveraged finance and project finance. He is the co-founder of Equalisi bvba, a social enterprise that sells 100% Alpaca scarves and hats, produced by vulnerable entrepreneurs from Bolivia. Philippe Eiselein is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant at the Department of Business at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He is preparing his doctoral dissertation on the Business Models and Scalability of Social Entrepreneurship. His ongoing research has been presented over several international conferences in Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hong Kong, the United States and the Netherlands. He has been actively supporting the VUB Chair of Social Entrepreneurship since its inception, contributing to several international projects and events, while coaching (social) entrepreneurs coaches and acting as the Chair’s webmaster. His main teaching activities cover the areas of Entrepreneurship (Prof. Dr. N. Dentchev) and Project Management (Prof. Dr. E. Haezendonck). Since 2019, he is the coordinator of Belgium Impact. Initiated by His Majesty King Philippe of Belgians, this platform promotes more than 250 cases of inspiring social entrepreneurs (so far), and is working to strengthen the Belgian social entrepreneurship ecosystem further. Kris Vander Velpen holds an MBA from Cornell University and a Business Engineer degree in Computer Data Processing as well as a Bachelor in Thomistic Philosophy from the KU Leuven. Kris is now an independent consultant, building and implementing tailor-made top-line growth practices within major profit and non-profit organisations (Picanol, Huntsman, J&J, RWE, Sabic, BLENDERS, Alternatief, Flanders Make,...). He was formerly regional development manager for the “Strategic Planning Team of the Kempen” as well as responsible for Fortis Venturing on a global scale and therefore board member of different profit and non-profit companies. Furthermore, he is Professor “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” at Flanders Business School and a Visiting Professor at KU Leuven. Maxime studied business and applied economics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Shortly afterwards, he launched a company called ‘Koalect’. This company helps organizations create more impact through fundraising, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. He has a team of fourteen people that currently support over 120 organizations to engage with their community in a better way. Maxime is very passionate about entrepreneurship with a focus on solving societal problems and hopes to help people to succeed in their endeavors with this book. Abel is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant at the Department of Business at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). For his doctoral dissertation, Abel has conducted field research in Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Belgium. His research has been presented at different international conferences (among which are the Academy of Management, IABS, EMES and New Business Models). Abel has acted as a reviewer at various conferences and for journals, and as co-organizer of numerous events (e.g. the VUB Social Entrepreneurship Fair that has ca. 550 participants and the Social Entrepreneurship Summit with ca. 150 participants). Abel is a co-founder of Equalisi BVBA, a social enterprise incorporated in 2019 in Belgium, aimed at supporting vulnerable entrepreneurs from Latin America to commercialize their products in alternative markets. In fall 2020, Abel joins the Vesallius College in Brussels as an Adjunct Professor of Social Entrepreneurship.