By Anna Upchurch, JVA Consulting

Social enterprise is an inspiring topic, so it is no wonder motivating stories from social entrepreneurs capture both our hearts and our minds. Social enterprise can be challenging, but social innovators continue to push the envelope and determine creative ways to create social change. One such entrepreneur is Nathan Hunt. Nathan attended JVA Consulting’s Social Enterprise BaseCamp in 2013 and shortly after moved to Fresno, California.

In Fresno, Nathan has launched two social enterprise ventures.

  • The first is called Say Hello Advertising. Nathan’s advertising company hires people from Fresno’s inner city, with barriers to employment, and provides them with professional development training and a quality income. Only in business a little over a year, Say Hello Advertising already employs more than a dozen people and represents 20 clients.
  • Nathan’s second social venture is Valley Edible Landscapes. The new website just launched so be sure to check it out. Like Say Hello Advertising, Valley Edible Landscapes hires individuals with barriers to employment. This social venture specializes in sustainable, food producing gardens for residential and commercial use. As additional benefits, Valley Edible Landscapes will transition landscaping to use less water and empower individuals or families with privately owned urban land to contribute to the local food economy.

  • Nathan isn’t done. Currently in discussions to open yet a third social enterprise that will assist formerly incarcerated men and women with their complex needs, he’s on his way to becoming a serial social entrepreneur.
  • Nathan credits JVA’s Social Enterprise BaseCamp training for providing him with a paradigm. “We are having a massive impact in our community that is 100% financially sustainable. I find that amazing.”

Nathan also appreciated the technical training that BaseCamp provided from marketing and strategic planning to setting up financials and creating dashboards.

Another BaseCamp participant, Lisa Brown, who is with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, shares her experience: “My main takeaway has been increased focus within our organization on making the business of doing good, good business. We increased customer service training, are supporting the whole life of employees in an increasingly visible manner and are starting to go deeper with our partnerships with patients and the community.”

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association has incorporated social entrepreneurial ideas into its business model and continues to grow relationships with various social enterprises and ventures.

Do you have an idea for a social enterprise or are you interested in learning more?

Then join us June 8-11 for our next Social Enterprise BaseCamp. Our upcoming session will help you:

  • Create a lean business model and plan
  • Learn how to conduct industry, competitor and market analyses
  • Develop a stakeholder communication plan
  • Learn how to find customers and how to sell
  • Understand the types of financing available
  • Confidently pitch your idea to investors
  • Create metrics to evaluate success

During our previous sessions, we have worked with social entrepreneurs from all over the country (and Canada) who have come with a wide range of ideas, which we have helped them launch into successful social enterprise businesses.

Stay tuned for more past participant success stories, and learn more about the upcoming Social Enterprise BaseCamp, June 8-11.