Tools for Social Entrepreneurs
Information Communication Technology tools can greatly improve daily internal communication of business enterprises and consequently the quality of their products and outputs. They will only get more important in post-covid period where remote work and online meetings will gain more popularity than in previous periods. Furthermore, as social entrepreneurship has a strong tendency to innovate (in fact they have to be innovative in one aspect or another), ICT tools are a perfect match in reaching goals and changing a social or ecological issue towards better.
If used properly and if there is a solid business strategy (they are only tools, not a guarantee of a successful business), they can improve social entrepreneurs’ internal communication and work pace, public outreach and visibility, customer experience, etc.
Here is an overview of the ones we have selected:
Impact measurement and management tools (IMM)
Impact Reporting & Investment Standards (IRIS+) – an online and generally accepted system for measuring, managing, and optimizing social or ecological impact
– Mobenzi – enables organisations to measure and maximise their impact by digitising their fieldwork and data collection
– The B Impact Assessment – complete, free, comprehensive and interactive online impact measurement tool, specifically designed for various types of businesses and activities. The Assessment comprehensively covers the impact of a business on all of its stakeholders, including its workers, suppliers, community, and the environment also captures best practices regarding mission, measurement, and governance.
– Clear Impact – platform for automated assessment and planning of impact that allows businesses to create custom visualisations and converge project management with impact management, but also public communication for advertising their impact.
– Social Value UK – an convenient Excel spreadsheet of the value map with pre-set formulas to help to calculate impact.
– Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) – allows social entrepreneurs to upload their own report, but also browse through thousands of others, getting new business sustainability and impact ideas
– SDG compass – allows social entrepreneurs to upload their own report, but also browse through thousands of others, getting new business sustainability and impact ideas
– The Impact Management Project (IMP) – provides a forum for organisations to build consensus on how to measure, assess and report impacts on environmental and social issues.
– Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) – This tool helps users understand poverty from the perspective of the stakeholder. The SL framework looks at how a stakeholder’s range of assets (not just physical) currently impacts their livelihood, and it delivers insight on what additional assets would be required to achieve positive and sustainable livelihood outcomes.
– The Higg Index – a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance
Planetly – easy and certified way to analyze company’s carbon footprint and Klima – simple, rewarding, effective tools to help you fight for the planet
ICT tools for optimization of everyday work
Project management / work tracking tools are a must for a modern company or organization, especially for working remotely. They improve work tracking by superiors or peers, but also allows team members to organize their work in an easy and effective way.
– Asana – a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage work
– Basecamp – a modern social media-like interface and carefree team collaboration app
– ProofHub – project planning software that is easy to use and has multiple features that make remote work more organized and productive
– Trello – very well known for visualizing tasks on a cardboard-like dashboard that is good for managing short and quick everyday assignments
Internal communication tools
A lot of professional situations need quick and effective communication channels, rather than typing an email, calling by mobile phone or something else.
– Slack – a tool for internal communication, divided by channels that represent particular projects
– Rocket Chat – web chat server, free communication software
– Ryver – a robust communication tool to centralize messages, tasks, and voice and video comms, with workflow automation features to streamline the process
– Cliq – a real time messaging tool built for smaller or bigger teams
– Slenke– modern tool with a clean interface offering task, time, and communication management features
– Discord – a social chat platform commonly used by online gamers that is available on computers and mobile devices, and accessible via a web browser. Enables easy video and audio conferencing
External communication tools – have emerged during the covid-19 pandemic, as the market need for the service rose dramatically. Depending on the type of your meeting or a conference, needs of all social entrepreneurs and other businesses can be satisfied by the following services – be it separate conference rooms, screen sharing, video recording etc
– Zoom – online video conferencing software for online meetings, webinars,video and audio conferences. It is intended for businesses to work remotely and offers a wide range of services
– Google Hangouts – one of the most popular and simple to use software created by Google and used for online meetings and conferences. It can likewise be natively integrated with Gmail and Google+.
– Skype – one of the most popular software for online communication. Is a freeware text messaging, video & audio calling service
– Go-to meeting – the service is designed to broadcast the desktop view of a host computer to a group of computers connected to the host – up to 100 guests
– Cisco Webex – Video conferencing service Cisco Webex Meetings offers a generous free plan and it’s dropped its price considerably in the past couple of years.
Collaboration and simultaneous work tools
Atlas of Social Innovation – provides two distinct ways for exploring the field of Social Innovation – either via the brochure Atlas of Social Innovation: New Practices for a Better Future, SI-DRIVE’s final Deliverable to the European Commission or via an interactive, global map at which various Social Innovations have been highlighted.
– Google-suite – is a suite of cluster or numerous computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products designated for businesses and organizations. Most useful for collaborative work are Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides and Google Forms
– Dropbox – a simple, reliable file-syncing and storage service with enhanced collaboration features. Makes a backup to keep all important documents protected under any circumstance
– Team Viewer – – an online workspace that keeps track of a team’s discussions, decisions, and more
– Chrome Remote Desktop – Similar to TeamViewer, only that this is an Google Chrome extension. You can access your desktop or laptop from your mobile phone or tablet, wherever you are
– MindMeister – online tool that lets your team brainstorm on a mind map online, simultaneously
– AwwMap – online whiteboard that you can use with your colleagues real time to brainstorm from different locations, while using some of the internal or external communication tools
– Tricider – free online tool for easy brainstorming and voting. For decision making, crowdsourcing and idea generation. Software for collecting ideas and voting.
Educational / presentation tools
In the times of a pandemic and its aftermath regarding online teaching and collaboration, intuitive, free, and easy to use software is getting more and more recognized both by educators and businesses. Some of them are around for decades and still doing the trick, while others possess new and innovative approaches.
– Moodle – free and open-source learning management system, developed on pedagogical principles
Mentimenter – an all-in-one solution for remote support, remote access and online meetings which allows social enterprise to assist customers remotely and work with colleagues from a distance
– Team Viewer – an all-in-one solution for remote support, remote access and online meetings which allows social enterprise to assist customers remotely and work with colleagues from a distance
– Projeqt – a tool that allows you to create multimedia presentations, with dynamic slides in which you can embed interactive maps, links, online quizzes, Twitter timelines, and videos, among other options.
– ScreenCastify – Chrome extension connected to Google Drive which can record your desktop, Chrome tab or webcam video. Directly uploaded to your Google Drive and ready for use and share
– Screencast-o-matic – along with screen recording, this Google Chrome extension allows you to edit your videos. It is useful for educators as well as internal team collaboration
Video & graphic editing tools
– Lumen 5 – Tool for creating social media content in minutes. Beneficial for any brands and businesses looking to get serious with content marketing, and with video content in particular.
– Canva – one of the most popular online photo & video editing software known
– Blender – Free and open source 3D modeling software. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline – modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and 2D animation pipeline
Social media marketing tools
Buyer Persona Tools
– Facebook Audience Insights – gives information about two groups of people – people connected to our facebook page and people on Facebook
– Socialbakers – s helping to discover customer personas, what content they like and is offering free to download buyer persona template PDF
– CoSchedule – organize your entire editorial calendar while integrating with your blog, email, and social platforms. Social entrepreneurs can manage and collaborate with their team to create social media posts, events, content, and tasks
Facebook Analytics – is one of the most powerful marketing analytics tools available because of the wealth of data that can help in understanding more about other Facebook pages of social enterprises
Content Creation Tools
Creator Studio- let publishers manage content, insights and messages from all Facebook Pages in one place. It is possible to manage, monetize and measure content across all Facebook and Instagram accounts
Content Curation Tools
Hootsuite – the biggest social media management tool. A web application that allows to manage multiple social media accounts across different platforms. It saves time by managing all social media in one place and it provides real-time analytics.
Buffer – is a software application for web and mobile phones used for successful social media management. With one easy click, you’ll be able to share content and schedule posts via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest
Impact tools for Social Enterprises
Business development / design / sustainability tools
– Design Kit – quality step by step tools, to-do lists and videos that support future social entrepreneurs in designing, implementing and sustaining their business impact.
– DIY – Development, Impact & You – the archive contains a vast spectrum of practical tools and templates designed to trigger and support social innovation from various fields – marketing, business development, design thinking etc.
– SDG Compass – online inventory of tools that can be used by businesses that strive to contribute to one or more Sustainable Development Goals
– Business model canvas ICT tools
– Strategyzer – freemium software that helps social enterprises in modeling their business model canvas online.
– Business model inc. – along with business model canvas, this freemium tool also provides value proposition canvas, target persona canvas, customer journey canvas, among others – with step by step clarifications and instructions.
– BM Toolbox – Business model canvas specially designed for social enterprises
– I2E – Inventing Green Tool – online self-assessment, which will help social enterprise to identify areas where they can improve their social enterprise’s environmental practices.
– Social Innovation Toolkit – consortium of partners consisting of highly influential organisations DG Grow, Nesta, Kennisland, Scholz & Friends, ENoLL and Ashoka have produced this toolkit that helps change-makers in every step of their business cycle.
– Anyidea.ai – is the all-in-one platform that helps social enterprises to get more ideas, recognise their ideas with potential and simply become more innovative in the future.
MaRS Startup Toolkit– huge archive of tools, video courses, templates and know-hows that focuses on four sectors – health, clean technology, financial technology and enterprises that work with new and innovative technologies and have a potential to build global companies while solving societal and ecological challenges.
– Crowdfunding Guidebook – Interreg CROWD-FUND-PORT had an output, envisioned to help SMEs and social entrepreneurs in financing their businesses while engaging the community and raising awareness at the same time – all online. A very useful tool for SEs
Whether is it just a platform for generating new ideas or getting new partners, a work-seeking / offering service, or a freelance platform networking for social enterprises is of the essence.
– Work for impact – innovative online platform connecting freelancers and social enterprises
– Social Innovation Factory – is a networking organization that promotes, guides and supports social and societal innovative concepts.
– Social change central – connects, encourages and supports social enterprises and aspiring entrepreneurs through an easy-to-use, comprehensive self-service database which collates the most up-to-date opportunities
Podcast, webinars, online lectures
– Acumen Academy – platform containing hundreds of online workshops, seminars, blogs and team courses specifically designed for social entrepreneurs and persons and businesses that tend to become one. Depending on the topic or difficulty, they can vary from 1 hour to 8 weeks, live with professional coaches, pre taped or blog-style workshops and templates.
– IN SITU Social Entrepreneurial Skills and Competences training (TTT) – Interreg CE IN SITU delivered a series of free online workshops dedicated for social entrepreneurs. Training material covers topics such as idea shaping, design thinking, business model training, crowdfunding, best practices and social business model assessment.
– Red Workshop – originally a site for the US social entrepreneurs, however easily accessible for interested participants from around the world. Beside workshops and tools, they offer various blogs and podcasts.
Cooperation tools between social entrepreneurs and altruistic entrepreneurs
Although this kind of tools are yet to become popular, both in software and business concept context, there are some useful examples of good practice that can be used as starting point for future ideas.
– SAP Ariba – creates direct, intelligent connections between businesses and suppliers
– Microsoft Global Social Entrepreneurship – supports social impact startups with technology, connections and grants so they can focus on bringing their big vision to life and making the world a better place
– The do School – working with governments, foundations, NGOs and businesses supporting entrepreneurs and catalyzing their innovation potential
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