Folkuniversitetet in Umeå hosted the fourth SE Innovation Lab, where 8 participants representing 6 social business innovations came together to further develop their ideas and take their businesses to the next level. 

Two of the participants, Mikael Berglund and Therese Lilja, representing Omnejden Design och Kommunikation, share their experience and thoughts below.

Together with seven fellow social entrepreneurs, we participated in SE Forum’s Innovation Lab Umeå that took place on the weekend of November 1-3. These were intense days, filled with building and dissecting business plans. Besides developing a better overview of our own plans, the opportunity to get insights to other social initiatives was exciting and educating.

The core tool for the workshop was the Business Model Canvas. It is a system for finding correlations between the different elements of a business, which may include customer segments and revenue streams.

Our personal expectations for the weekend revolved around the conceptualization of our own business plan in order to find ways to combine professional design and communication solutions with a customer segment often lacking financial resources. Some of the participant profiles matched our specific customer segment, creating an added value to our workshop participation. It provided a great opportunity to test our business model, receiving real time feedback, and realize that we had indeed correctly perceived the needs of our targeted customers.

SE Forum’s definition of social entrepreneurship identifies businesses striving for community benefits combined with financial strength. Through our experiences in social services, aswell as web and graphic design, we believe in our ability to assist socially beneficial ventures do even more good for society as a whole, thus responding to the definition.