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Course Overview

Social enterprises and community enterprises deliver an array of services and supports into local communities throughout the country. Aside from much need services, they are also a significant employer in areas where good quality employment can be hard to find.

Many social and community enterprises can struggle with generating trading income, as they balance the needs of a small catchment area of clients with the need to generate revenue to support their ongoing operations.

In this course, we look at some of the factors that any organisation will need to consider as it grows its trading income.

Course Structure

The course is divided into 7 component parts and takes approx. 1.5 hours to review. Participants should allow for additional time to review the templates which accompany the course. Topics are self-contained to facilitate micro-learning for the time conscious participant.

1. Business Models

Despite the fact that an organisation may have been in business for several years, it is helpful for a social or community enterprise to evaluate the strength of its ‘business model’ when it seeks to grow its trading income. Identifying a sustainable business model is a necessity for any commercial business start-up and is no less important for socially-oriented operations.

2. Business Strategy in Social Enterprises

No where is the dilemma faced by community and social enterprises more evident than in their choice of business strategy. On the one hand, they typically wish to deliver the maximum range of supports and services into the community, but on the other hand, find it difficult to get the intended beneficiaries (or indeed anyone else) to pay the full cost of delivering these supports and services.

3. Marketing

Whether you perceive marketing as an art form or a science, it is undisputed that it is necessary for any social or community enterprise to succeed. In this lesson, we bring together several important topics, to help you to better understand the principles that underpin good marketing.

4. Sales

By segmenting a market into clearly identifiable groups, a set of sales messages and selling approaches can be crafted to appeal to the different customer groups or customer segments.

5. Branding

To a customer (or potential customer), a brand is the way in which that person experiences an organisation. It’s all those points of contact, conversations, service(s) used, products purchased, colours, sights and sounds associated with the organisation. Collectively, these elements create impressions or expectations about an organisation in the minds of people over time.

6. Operations

A detailed operational plan goes some way in helping a social or community enterprise to identify ways to reduce costs and minimise waste in its operations. Operational plans are detailed and set out the ways in which the business objectives and business strategy of he organisation is to be achieved.

7. Financing Growth

Financing growth in a social and community enterprise is clearly easier when a sustainable business model underpins growth! The best case scenario is to be able to fund growth through generating trading income. This is not always possible however without some form of additional financial support.

Upon successfully completing the course, participants may download free of charge a course Certificate of Completion.


The course costs €43.05 per participant for 60 days course access.

Commence the Course & General Instructions

Once enrolled in the course:

  1. Please progress through each of the lessons in the course sequentially.
  2. To move from one lesson page to another, click on the ‘Mark Complete’ button located at the end of each lesson page. Once you have clicked the ‘Mark Complete’ button, you may then progress to the next lesson in the course.
  3. Some lesson pages contain interactive resources. To open an interactive resource, click the orange ‘Launch’ button contained on the web page. Click on the ‘Next’ buttons or arrows within each interactive resource to move from one screen to the next within each of these resources.
  4. Document names in red within a lesson or topic page denote that the document is available to download. Just click on the document name (in blue) to open it for viewing and download.

To start the course, click on the lesson 1 heading in the table below.

Purchase Course (€43.05)