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Welcome to the course brought to you by Carmichael. We hope you find the information contained in accompanying lessons helpful as you develop business strategy in your social enterprise.

Course Overview

Social enterprises play a pivotal role in the delivery of services and supports in Ireland. Beneficiaries can speak first hand of the positive impact these supports have on their lives. 

Social enterprises compete with a wide range of other companies and organisations in a bid to generate trading income. The challenge in such instances is to generate financial returns without comprising social outcomes and impact.

This course is designed to put place social impact at the heart of business planning and conversations around social enterprise development.

Course Structure

The course is divided into four distinct sections, each with a set of course lessons.

Section 1: External Environment in Context

This section explains how to analyse the external business environment in which a social enterprise operates. To that end several topics are explored:

  • Environmental Analysis – PESTEL
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Market Analysis
  • Municipal Authority Plans
  • Government Policy
  • EU Policy initiatives
  • Funder Priorities

Section 2: Internal Analysis

In this section, we explore the factors at play within a social enterprise that influence decisions concerning business strategy and the nature of social impact pursued. The topics we cover here are:

  • SWOT Analysis
  • Drivers of Change
  • Cost Analysis
  • Review of Assets
  • Assessing Capacity
  • Leadership Priorities
  • Succession Plans

Section 3: Social Enterprise Strategy

This section considers the options that social enterprises have when setting business direction. Key topics covered include:

  • From Activities and Outputs to Outcomes and Impact
  • Developing and Using a Theory of Change
  • Business Models
  • Funding Models
  • ESG Impact Investing
  • Scaling Opportunities
  • Asset Utilisation Strategy
  • Selecting a Viable Business Strategy
  • Integrating Impact Management and Business Strategy
  • Implementing Business Strategy and Achieving Social Impact

Section 4: Marketing

This final section of the course provides an overview of the importance of branding in helping a social enterprise to communicate the value that it delivers.  Topics covered include:

  • Identifying Brand Values
  • Developing a Social Enterprise Brand that Communicates Social Outcomes and Impact
  • Developing a Value Proposition Statement
  • Developing Effective Market Development Plans
  • Maximising Income Generating Opportunities

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

Commence the Course & General Instructions

Please progress through each of the lessons in the course sequentially.

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.

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.

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.