Whow! Innovation Festival was held in São Paulo from July 24 to 26, discussing various topics on innovation and promoting visits to projects carried out by companies and organizations. In the panel that discussed the CREATION OF SOCIAL AND IMPACT BUSINESSES in the present Brazilian context experts highlighted challenge and success aspects for these kind of businesses and entrepreneurs.

  1. SHORT TERM FINANCIAL PLANNING: The vast majority of entrepreneurs and businesses in Brazil have good ideas and solutions, a good business model, good management processes but do not build and work on short-term planning. Yes, you need to generate impact and change, change the focus context of the business, but before that, you need to ensure the viability of the business.

  2. TEAM TO MANAGE AND IMPLEMENT THE BUSINESS: it is fundamental to build a diverse team with different profiles to ensure effective and efficient management and implementation of the business.

  3. DEFINING SHORT-TERM INDICATORS FOR YOUR BUSINESS: Most social and impact businesses care about and focus on defining and demonstrating business impact indicators but have poorly developed short-term indicators that focus on the business aspects. You must first address business metrics and focus on the business itself, and latter on impact indicators. It is important that they are simple, objective, and focused: sales goals, customer goals, resource generation, profit goal, working capital, etc.

  4. KNOWING THE PROBLEM OR ISSUE THE BUSINESS IS ADRESSING: “understanding the pain” of the ones you want to work with, undtherstand the of the problem and issue that the business wants to adress is a key element. It takes time, analysis and planning. This is a challenge in Brazil because most entrepreneurs have an operational profile, to build and to do, to create and to operate. But the risk is to “thing, belive” you know what the demand, issue or opportunity is and build the model and pilot based on them (MVL – Minimum Viable Product) (*)

  5. SAY NO TO OPPORTUNITIES:  important (and not that easy) to say no for the various opportunities: stay focused and keep your planning. Opportunities appear throughout the process of entrepreneurship and, despeite the fact that some of them are extremely interesting and tempting, entrepeneurs need to stay focused to succeed in implementing and continuing impact business and thus increase the chances of success.

  6. BE SIMPLE: do things in a simple way, do not complicate. The success and continuity of the business and its survival does not depend on complex tools and processes, but on processes, tools, indicators that make sense for the business, for its team, for partners and financiers, and that allow entrepeneurs and team to track the processo and make necessary adjustments along the path of the enterprise.

  7. CONCEPT OF IMPACT: Impact businesses purpose and are created to generate impact and this is important. There is a broad discussion about the concept of impact that understands that initiatives that seek to guarantee the basic elements for any human being are actions, projects and businesses that generate impact. And by minimum conditions we speak about access to health, housing, food, study. (**)

  8. EXPANDING NOT ONLY IN BRAZIL SOUTHEAST REGION AND BIG METROPOLIS: 1% of companies in Brazil account for 67% of jobs and 23% of the country’s GDP is generated through informal work. 70% of the Brazilian population (14o millon) lives outside the major centers or axes of the country  (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte cities) and it is necessary to get information, tools, processes, human, material and financial resources to these regions.

  9. EXCHANGE EXPERIENCES AND KNOWLEDGE AMONG ENTREPRENEURS: Brazilians entrepreneurs are very lonely and very closed, it is necessary to change this culture. Entrepreneurs need to open up, exchange information, share learning with others who are living the same moment This gives you strength and more resilience to continue to work and build the business.

  10. ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND FINANCING: Only financial education and very well-structured financial planning will enable entrepreneurs to have access to financial resources available in the market. Today there is a vacuum between financiers and entrepreneurs and, according to the experts’ analysis, this is because entrepreneurs still can not effectively demonstrate the viability of their business from a financial and profitability point of view, as well as the replicability of their model. And also because investors have a short-term vision and result and “forget” the medium and long-term vision that is part of the nature and reason for existing impact business. It is also important to associate with investors who believe in your business, they have to be a partner – and avoid the so-called “smart money” (***)

  11. RESILIENCE AND PERSISTENCE: Entrepreneurs need to be able to deal with the challenges and obstacles while they are developing and building their business, and must also remain focused and persist despite these obstacles and difficulties. It also important to understand that the process of design, construction, implementation and scheduling requires a natural time of creation and maturation.

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

(*) MVP = Minimum Viable Product is the simplest version of a product that can be launched with a minimum amount of effort and development. An MVP helps entrepreneurs begin the learning process as quickly as possible, saving time and effort. However, it is not necessarily the smallest product imaginable. Unlike traditional product development, which generally involves a long and thoughtful period of incubation and pursuit of product perfection, the goal of MVP is to begin the learning process, not finalize it. Unlike a prototype or concept test, an MVP was designed not only to answer questions about product design and technical issues; your goal is to test fundamental business hypotheses.

(**) = Impact concept: some references on impact concept and measurement: University of Michigan / USA -http: //socialimpact.umich.edu/about/what-is-social-impact/ and UN-https: //business.un.org/

(***) = To learn more about the context and challenges of business impact in Brazil, see the following report: https://www.pipe.social/mapa2017 and https://thegiin.org/knowledge/publication/annualsurvey2016