Social Venture Boot Camp 2013

The Social Venture Boot Camp is an opportunity for Catholic Charities USA members to come together to face the pressing challenges associated with sustainability head-on.

Catholic Charities USA social venture program leaders will be paired up with business mentors, as well as upper-level undergraduate and/or graduate students, as available, in a workshop environment to  research and analyze the existing or proposed product or service, including market research and competitor analysis; review basic logistics, staffing, and other operational requirements; and work through a sustainability plan that the social venture program can then use to guide future operations, seek financing, revive a struggling concern, or help guide future growth.

It should be noted that this workshop is intended to be a dynamic learning environment.  We are not pre-scribing the agenda, but looking to build an agenda customized to the challenges presented in the pre-workshop problem statements. 

Our definition of Social Venture

Just as a traditional entrepreneur identifies a business opportunity, develops a business model, and galvanizes resources, so too does the social impact entrepreneur - with a focus on creating long-term systemic change.  The social impact entrepreneur attends to the financial sustainability of the venture as well as the social impact.  Criteria to consider as you evaluate your social impact:

  • Does your existing venture or proposed new product/service demonstrate financial and social/environmental sustainability (also known as the double- or triple-bottom-line)?
  • Does your venture serve the community/public good in an innovative way?
  • Are all stakeholders considered and empowered by your venture, and engaged in its delivery?
  •  Is your solution a short-term or short-sighted response to a market need?  Or is the solution one that has the opportunity to create significant social/environmental value, as well as scale?

Program Dates and Logistics

The Catholic Charities USA and University of Notre Dame's Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at the Mendoza College of Business' Social Venture Sustainability Boot Camp 2013 will take place on the Notre Dame campus, commencing the evening of Sunday, August 4th through mid-afternoon on Thursday, August 8th.  A tentative agenda will be forwarded to participants in mid-June.

Program participants will be responsible for their own travel and housing (a block of rooms is being held at Ivy Court) and the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship will host the participants for most meals through the program.  Most sessions will take place in classrooms and conference rooms in the Mendoza College of Business. 

Eligibility/Criteria to Participate

  • Willingness to engage collaboratively in problem-solving exercises with mentors
  • Commitment to participate on the dates mentioned above
  • Commitment to send at least one, if not more (2-3 max), decision-making personnel from your organization to the program
  • Commitment to engage in assigned pre- and post-program preparations, as well as during the program sessions

We are seeking applications from social ventures in various stages of development.  Applications are due on Wednesday, May 15th and we will confirm acceptance by Monday, May 27th.  Preparation work will be necessary and will be due by Monday, July 15th.

What is your organization’s background, including a brief history? 
What is your intended social enterprise program? 
What is the problem you are attempting to solve with your social enterprise?   
Who is your target population and how do you intend to reach them?
Have you identified sources of funding for start-up capital? 
Have you discussed a revenue model for this program? 
If so, what is your revenue stream? 
How is this different from the other programs for which your agency is responsible/receives funding?
What other organizations provide similar services? 
Have you considered any partnerships and/or collaborations? 
If so, whom?
Who are the decision-makers for this program?  Has it received board support?  Will this program receive dedicated human and other resources to see it implemented?
Have you considered how you will measure the effectiveness of this program? 
What is the expected potential impact?
This statement will provide the best insight for us to determine the content of the Boot Camp agenda, as well as the selection of your mentoring and coaching team.  Please give it serious consideration and answer the question below in the space provided. Please limit your response to 500 words.

What is the most serious challenge facing your organization as you move forward?