As a social entrepreneur, there are a million decisions and choices to make when building your business whilst also trying to change the world! If you are exploring the world of the social enterprise business models, perhaps you need a map, a toolkit and a mighty sword to help you navigate through.

To help you along your way, the Mill House Social Enterprise Accelerator has a tale to tell.

Prologue: Building Your Adventure Map!

Adventures are lost without a map. Your adventure starts with an interactive conference session to meet your fellow adventurers and pack your virtual bag for the next few months of GRIST.

Chapter 1: Time to leave home

An adventurer begins their life in a world that is not quite working “properly”.

For a social entrepreneur, you can feel the energy and see the need for action to address a social purpose. Just like the adventurer, your mission is to leave the relative comfort of home and venture into the unknown. But you don’t just hit out blindly on any old path. You must articulate your mission.

Chapter 2: Into the Wild

The adventurer needs to read the land where they are venturing. What terrain are you venturing into?

For a social entrepreneur, your adventure is in an existing market. You need to know who and what is in your terrain to successfully navigate your way through the rough bits and find the friends and tools you need to complete your mission.

 Chapter 3: A rumble in the distance

What are those dark clouds on the horizon? It’s not long before the adventurer comes across their first challenge; there is a dragon threatening the success of the mission!

For a social entrepreneur, your challenge is the Money Dragon. How well do you know this dragon? Is even looking at the money dragon enough to have you quaking in your boots? Slaying the Money Dragon may take you a couple of goes, but as your adventure continues, you will build the confidence and skills to tame this beast.

 Chapter 4: Protect the villagers

The adventurer either comes from a village under threat or is adopted by a threatened village to slay the dragon. To tackle the dragon, use the power of community.

For the social entrepreneur, you are going to use trade (selling products and services in your business) to support your beneficiaries and create an impact. You need to talk to your villagers to understand what they need, what they value and what choices they make when they buy.

 Chapter 5: Find the Dragon’s Den

The adventurer makes their way through the terrain, arming themselves with data, tools and a rough idea where they are going.

For a social entrepreneur, you are using a financial model to fight fire with fire. But is your flame strong enough? The only way to tell is to find the Dragon’s Den! But you don’t need to go in unarmed. Creating a financial model first allows you to think through the strategy of your social venture and decide if you are ready to proceed… or not.

 Chapter 6: The first stumble

The adventurer has found the Dragon’s Den and has supplies from home. But are they the right tools? Does the adventurer have the right ideas and strategies in place to approach the dragon? At the first puff of smoke, the adventure stumbles. How do they proceed? Do you need to pull back? Or can you press on?

For a social entrepreneur, looking critically at the products and services available to you, how you build them and what effect they have on your mission usually produces a stumble. That’s a normal part of the adventure. It’s how you learn and proceed that makes all the difference.

 Chapter 7: The adventurer needs a mighty sword

The adventurer’s next quest is to find the sword with magical properties to slay the dragon.

For a social entrepreneur, it can be tempting to think there is only one magic “silver bullet” that will solve their revenue needs but in reality, you may need to go on several quests to find the right revenue mix and product market fit to your mission, and meet your venture’s needs.

 Chapter 8: The adventuring crew

At this point in the journey, the adventurer may be feeling tired, and has experienced a few setbacks. Perhaps the sword they thought they would use is broken. Maybe they’re wounded? It’s tough going it alone. So, the adventurer calls in friends and supporters to heal and find their motivation to continue.

For the social entrepreneur, the right team members, suppliers, distributors and advisors are critical to achieving their mission. So, who do you need and what skills will help you dig deep and find the courage to continue?

 Chapter 9: The magic elixir

The adventurer needs a reviving draught to continue. The magical elixir has the properties to energise and encourage the adventurer to discover new approaches and be persistent.

For the social entrepreneur, understanding what ingredients are needed for their “elixir” comes down to understanding what they need, how much and where they can find “it”. These costs will need resourcing; so, where to next?

 Chapter 10: The night before battle

The adventurer has everything they need, and yet, there is the nervousness of wondering if they have enough. At this stage of the adventure, there are tools, weapons, ideas and armour everywhere. It’s time to lay it all out, polish it up and prepare for battle.

For the social entrepreneur, this is the stage in the adventure where you need to take stock of all your work, research, choices and documents. You start to draw everything together and think about your pitch!

 Chapter 11: Apprentice to the masters

The adventurer sometimes needs a sabbatical and a mini-adventure to develop a special skill, or develop their strength for the Ultimate Battle.

For the social entrepreneur, a visit with the masters, in dedicated masterclasses for finances and pitching, give you the added boost to sharpen those tools.

 Chapter 12: In the Belly of the Beast

The adventurer is on the battlefield, chopping at thorns and seconding guessing every move. The maws of the Dragon are opening, and in this moment, the adventurer gathers their strength and lifts their sword.

For the social entrepreneur, this is the moment where you screw your courage to the sticking place and take a breath to centre your thoughts. You place your trust in the process and your self-belief guides you through all the choices you have made.

 Chapter 13: The Ultimate Battle – Slay the Dragon

It’s time. The adventurer is ready, the dragon is breathing fire and you have bravely stepped up to the beast. The pitch to investors is just the first step for a Mill House Accelerator alumni. We know that it is a nerve wrecking time, but you got this.

Perhaps you slay your dragon, or at the very least you have tamed it. You know what you want to ask, you have all the evidence and a great business model. Your impact model and the narrative of your theory of change is articulate and beautifully presented in your pitch deck. You’ve sipped the magic elixir and your mighty sword has the fresh proof of a hard battle. The dragon is conquered this time, and you have all the skills and support to go in to battle time and time again. Because this is not the last battle you will fight.

Your adventure continues…

Are you ready to build your adventure? The Mill House Social Enterprise Accelerator is open for applications which close at midnight on the 15th of June. They are running a range of information sessions to help you unpack the application process and learn more about the program.