Accelerators for Social Enterprise with Lauren Edwards - Ep 40

This episode of the Social Enterprise Alliance Podcast aired on Tuesday, March 26th. This episode can be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Intro: Hello Everyone! Welcome to the Social Enterprise Alliance podcast. Today’s guest is Lauren Edwards. Lauren is the Executive Director of SEA Change, the Principal/Owner of Next Step Business Consulting, Co-owner of the social enterprise Apex Leadership Co of Central Ohio, and a Lecturer in the City and Regional Planning and Non-Profit Management departments at the Ohio State University. Her passion lies in helping organizations and individuals alleviate poverty through program and business development, vision realization, and facilitated conversation.


Let’s welcome, Lauren Edwards.

David: [00:00:00] Well, hello, Lauren. Thank you for joining us on the social enterprise Alliance podcast.

Lauren E: Hi. Yeah. Thanks guys. Thanks for having me.

David: So, um, so I always feel like sometimes there's the joke of, you know, a rose between two thorns and I'm always like, well, I'm a thorn between two roses. Well, here I am, Dave, between two Laurens.

So.

Lauren DH: Yay. Good to have another Lauren on the podcast.

Lauren E: Always good to meet another one.

David: So just as we get going, um, we'd love to hear a little bit more about your personal story and how you became first interested in social enterprise.

Lauren E: Yeah. Um, yeah, it's kind of, I don't know, it's a roundabout story. I think like a lot of people have, you know, kind of a crazy background that goes all over.

And so I, you know, I, I went to college, I went to grad school, um, and. Ended up I think to kind of go quickly through a handful of [00:01:00] years of kind of discovering myself working for government working for nonprofit working kind of all over the place. I ended up working in a nonprofit organization here in central Ohio that was interested in starting a social enterprise, you know, within the nonprofit itself.

And so I had heard the term at the time. I mean, and this was years and years ago. So it was before it was kind of as big of a thing as it is now. And um, it was actually a really awesome opportunity because I was only working part time with them and I was working elsewhere, you know, kind of to, to pay the bills, honestly, and do things.

But, um, when they wanted to do this, they had received some grant funding. Um, and I had done a lot of different, you know, sales and kind of business stuff in my corporate. world and different things. And so I kind of just said, Yeah, you know, I put my hand up and said, I'll do it, you know, and they brought me on full time at that point.

And I continue to do what I had been doing, plus created a social enterprise within that nonprofit that went on to be relatively successful, you know, it was a fun thing to do. [00:02:00] And, um, You know, after that, uh, you know, continued on with the nonprofit for some time until it was kind of time for me to move on.

And when I did that, I, I went and met with a bunch of people in my network and kind of said, where, what should I do next? You know, I don't know what my next thing is. And, um, a lot of folks, you know, Kind of pushed me in the direction of consulting. So I started my current phase of my career as a consultant, um, really focusing on social enterprise, but also other, um, needs of nonprofits.

So things like capacity and kind of, um, project management program development, that's really human centered. And so one of my first clients was a really wonderful foundation out of Northeast Ohio called the business of good foundation who wanted to expand their. Curriculum that was called sea change.

So that is how we kind of got to the place where we are today, where I'm, you know, years later, um, still consulting, but also the executive director of, of [00:03:00] sea change.

Lauren DH: That's so awesome. Really great context to have just for you and your story. So can you tell us a little bit more about. And so it started as an arm of a foundation, and how did it become what it is now?

And what is it now?

Lauren E: Yeah, no, that's great. So, um, yeah, it's a little bit unique. The Business Women Foundation is really awesome. They, um, Focus on just a couple of areas like that. They choose to fund and just a couple of organizations within each area. Like, they're very specific. It's a family foundation, but they were really interested in bringing my understanding.

This was a little bit before my time, just 1 year, but a little bit before me. My understanding was they were interested in bringing, um, Just education to entrepreneurs around social impact, right? Like, what does that look like? And so originally we were partnering with a group called SE Greenhouse out of Brown University in Rhode Island.

Um, they had a curriculum and so [00:04:00] they had essentially kind of licensed and like white labeled that curriculum at the very beginning. And they hired a consultant in Cleveland and a consultant in Columbus. And that was me to run the program, um, Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio. And, um, It was then kind of like a baby version of what it is today, which is now a 14 module curriculum that we can deliver in three different ways.

We can either run what we call our signature cohorts. So we have staff in three markets that run cohorts just for us. Our staff, we recruit the participants through partnerships and and whatnot, but we run them, um, we run the graduation events. We kind of do all the things. Uh, we can also run that curriculum through what we call affiliate partners.

So those are partners that are out in the community working with entrepreneurs. Maybe they're already running an accelerator or something, but they want. To focus on social enterprise for part of that work. And so that's where our curriculum comes in. And we [00:05:00] can either license that to them, and they just run it or we can run it for them, you know, and there's kind of a gray area in between.

And then we also have the curriculum available online for any entrepreneur that wants to take, like, maybe pick and choose, like, maybe group settings aren't really their thing. They don't want to do a cohort. They don't want the pace of an accelerator because it goes really fast. Um, they can pick and choose and kind of do that on their own.

And some of the pieces of the, the curriculum that we've built out, you know, and I, I kind of glossed over a lot of the C Change history, but we, um, we cared very much about how our entrepreneurs were doing. And so in 2018, we did an alumni survey to see not just kind of those outputs that a lot of people measure, like, here's how many, um, Entrepreneurs I've helped or how many hours of volunteering or instruction or whatever, but really the outcomes like what are the entrepreneurs learning the social entrepreneurs learning, excuse me, um, that they're putting into practice and are they [00:06:00] actually making impact are they actually making revenue.

Like down the road and the data was really awesome and we have a lot of that on our website, but it was really good that and we decided to do a triannual survey, but that also kind of kicked our butts into gear to start a nonprofit and actually really grow this thing like instead of just kind of having a program that was run by consultants.

So we did that. Honestly, in 2019 is when we first got our 501 C three to start doing all the work that we're doing now. Um, and really framing out that curriculum in a way that could be really helpful. So we bring in subject matter experts. Every entrepreneurs paired with a mentor. We have, you know, a bunch of different in kind awards and things for folks at the end and cash prizes, sometimes to help people move forward.

We're always encouraging them to work together as a cohort and to really identify and it's, I always joke that I should have this like tattooed or like put on my the back wall behind me, [00:07:00] but like we want people to identify what do you need to move forward? Like what is your next thing? Like what is that barrier that you need to break down?

Um, and how can we help you do that? So that's, You know what, what it is in the curriculum itself just covers all the kind of normal business stuff, but through that dual lens of social impact and financial sustainability. And so we find that that's relatively unique, um, in the space because there are a lot of folks that focus on one or the other, mostly the money side.

Um, but our curriculum talks about the challenges that exist when you're trying to balance both of those

Lauren DH: things. Yeah, that's awesome. So just a couple of clarifying things too. Are you working with largely like startup kind of social enterprises? Like what is the stage of the majority of your enterprises?

Lauren E: Yeah, that's awesome. So I yeah, I skipped over that piece. So when we were originally building um in Columbus specifically, there were some really awesome organizations that were working with like Ideation phase folks. So, you know, [00:08:00] back of the napkin, you know, I've got an idea, but I'm not even really sure that I want to be an entrepreneur, right?

Like we've got those folks over there. And then we had some really organized, amazing organizations that were working with people who were in kind of the scale and sustain stages of, of entrepreneurship. You know, they were a little bit further along. And so really kind of once we started to take off and, and see that this was working, you know, I, I worked on focusing that curriculum for people who, so the way.

for people kind of in the middle. So we talk about it as being like, you have an idea, but you've put some thought into it. Like you've done something like, it's not just kind of a, I'm, this has been floating around in my head for awhile up through maybe like three to five years in business, but you've been kind of flying by the seat of your pants.

And so you really need to kind of cross your T's dot your eyes, like make sure you've thought about everything. And that's what our curriculum's there to do and our program's there to do. That's awesome.

Lauren DH: Are you working mostly with local and like regional organizations or do you span also, you know national?

Lauren E: Yeah, so our [00:09:00] um, you know through those different kind of delivery methods We've served folks even internationally like it's it's been pretty awesome to see that. Thanks well, and one of the I mean one of the things it was one of the Very small silver linings of the pandemic was that you know, we fortunately our curriculum is already online But we were doing in person, you know synchronous classes.

Well pandemic hits. Well, we've already got this online curriculum So switching to kind of zoom classes or you know online classes wasn't too big of a shift for us So we started doing that right away and After the first year, we were already kind of into a signature cohort in Columbus. Anyway, that first, during the very beginning of the pandemic, the second year, we were like, well, let's just open it up and see who applies, you know, from wherever.

And so we had great teams. You know, we had two national and international cohorts, you know, during that, during the pandemic. Um, and then at this point we have affiliate partners in six different Markets across the country. So we work in [00:10:00] Seattle and Virginia and kind of all over the place, Portland and Colorado, Denver, um, and kind of all over, um, wherever we can find partners that see the value and recognize that more and more entrepreneurs.

Want to do good just like more and more people in the world want to do good, right? And so the more entrepreneurs want to do good The more important it is that they are coached on the fact that they can do that from day one They don't have to wait until they go out and make a ton of money before they can like insert Whatever the good is that they want to do that.

They can start that right at the beginning and that's what our

David: Yeah, I was gonna, it seems like since, especially you're working in that startup space, like what have you learned about the current social enterprise ecosystem? It almost sounds like you may have touched on it just now, like that you can start doing good.

Wherever you're at, but is there the, uh, something in particular that you've learned within the startup community of social entrepreneurs [00:11:00] that is a surprise or a common question?

Lauren E: Yeah. I mean, I think, and this is just me, probably my like naivete a little bit is, you know, I don't know, learning how people can't, I mean, I, I definitely have always believed that they can do good from day one.

And. Learning that people really can was awesome. I don't know that I'd say it was a surprise, but like that was a really amazing thing to be like, okay, yes, this is working. But like the story that we're telling everybody is true and it can actually happen. Um, and you know, to see the numbers of our triannual surveys of, of who's helping, and then to work within the amazing ecosystem in Columbus, because we have all of these amazing folks and in Northeast Ohio and Colorado and our other places, um, To see how supportive everybody is again, not necessarily a surprise, but I've just been really pleased with that.

Um, that people, [00:12:00] you know, once you start talking about doing good, folks seem to be like, okay, and like, they can tell when people are, um, honest, you know, and really mean it. And it's a part of who they are. And you know, I, I, I joke a little bit and I don't know, you can edit this out if you want to, but a long time ago, the Supreme Court, um, defined pornography as kind of like, you know it when you see it.

And that was actually a definition that they used. And I joke that that's a good way to define social enterprise, right? Like, cause there is no one like legal designation. Of course, there are B Corps and like things that we can do to kind of put that label on there, but there's not that one definition.

So I'm kind of like, you kind of. You know, when you see it, and I think people have really responded to that really well. And the upswing of people wanting to support is, is just really amazing.

David: Yeah, I love that. I love that kind of perspective of definition because it, it definitely is a challenge, I think sometimes around the ecosystem.[00:13:00]

But it, that breaks it down in a way that is relatable to everybody. Like, I can relate to that. Good.

Lauren E: Good.

Lauren DH: Yeah. And I think it is like it kind of helps people to have a, um, just like a, like a critical eye when it comes to these things of like, you're looking for it. You also know when it's not it, you know, with all of the, yeah, greenwashing and, and everything that we kind of see and, and big massive corporations claiming a social impact and everybody's kind of like, Hmm, that's a little, that's a little stretch, you know?

So, so I think, uh, I think it. It can be, I think it challenges people to kind of like look closely at things, which is, which is really cool. But that's, yeah, that's awesome. I know it's something at SCA too that we're always like, you know, we have a definition of social enterprise, but we also know that we have members that maybe don't meet that exact definition as well.

Um, yeah. But we're all kind of in it together to do some [00:14:00] good in the world. So,

Lauren E: yeah, no, that's awesome. We've, you know, it's, it is something that we talk about often, like our board and our staff and our, you know, any, our partners, like anybody we're working with, they're like, well, but like, what is it? And I'm like, well, if you Google it, you're going to get a hundred different definitions, but they all have these two things in common.

They all say you're making. some form of social impact and you're financially sustainable. And then now we can dig down on like, what does financially sustainable mean? And what does impact mean? Right? Like, what does that mean? And people will have different ideas of that, but those two pieces are always there.

And I think, you know, I, I tend to, it's, I personally, so this is outside of work, um, but I personally tend to put a lot of power in words, but also recognize when sometimes we kind of need to let that go. Like we don't have one definition and that's okay. Like, and it's okay. You know, this is one thing for our, our programming is that if someone comes through and part of the way through determines that they are going to be kind of a true nonprofit [00:15:00] organization that doesn't have a financial sustainability plan outside of philanthropy.

If they decide that. Great. That is a successful outcome for our program because they're still going to do good, and they haven't wasted five years trying to make a bunch of money when they're not going to be able to do that. And even on the other end, if we find somebody who really says, you know what, I just want to go out and make money and have like a, Corporate social responsibility policy and cut a check to charity and have my staff volunteer on the holidays great like because again You've used our curriculum the way it's supposed to be used and you haven't wasted anyone's time Like you've gone out and done this thing and you're gonna do good and I you know for me.

I I value all different kinds of doing good and, you know, to your point, recognize that sometimes people say they're doing good and it's kind of like, eh, like, are you though? Like, I don't know. Um, but, you know, I, I think, I think any, we can, we need it. We need all the good. So I, you know. Anybody who wants to like join us, [00:16:00] right?

Come come help.

Lauren DH: Yes. Yes. That's awesome. That's so good You kind of just addressed us a little bit to just you know Some of the different paths that people can take in your program But I'm curious like what do you see as? some of the most common Issues in social enterprises in their development. And, you know, even for like the practical benefit of our listeners, how can social enterprises be looking at those issues and trying to address them early on in their development?

Lauren E: Yeah. Um, oh, man, I love this question. So I think, um. And this one is my experience broadly with entrepreneurs as a whole, not necessarily like just, okay. So I'm going to, and I have so many answers. So I was trying to kind of in my few minutes before this, like narrow this one down. So I think number one, um, people tend to come into our program, you know, part of the conversation we have with them is like, Oh, what are your most, pressing needs, you [00:17:00] know, over the next 12 months or whatever.

And remember, these are early on, like early stage folks, 98. 7 percent of them, like, that's not an actual data point, but something like that say that they need money and marketing. Like they need a marketing tool, you know, a marketing plan and they need money to execute on that marketing plan. And then I asked them, well, like, what are you selling?

You know, like, what do you need to market? Excuse me. What do you need to market? And they're like, well, my, my thing. And I'm like, okay, tell me more about your thing. And they don't, they don't have a thing yet. Like, and so I, I'm sure there are a lot of listeners out there that, that are thinking that too.

Like the thing I need to spend all my time and energy on is like getting money and getting marketing, but do the, you need to do your homework. Like you need to do the background work and the legwork and lay that foundation so that once you are marketing, the thing you're marketing Is right, you know, and that's what you need to do.

And so I think, you know, that's one thing where, you know, it's hard to hear, but that's, you know, maybe [00:18:00] slow down for a second. It'll feel like slowing down, but do all that legwork, do the research, find it out. Um, another one is market research does not entail or, you know, customer fit research. Any kind of research about other people does not entail asking your friends and family.

Because they all love you so much, and they are going to say yes to like whatever you're asking. And they're going to say this is amazing. And even if it's like friends of friends, they're still gonna want to support you. So that's amazing, but like, you gotta go ask some strangers. Like, you gotta ask strangers, and you gotta get out there.

And if you're afraid of what they might say about your thing, that's okay, we all are. Like, we're all afraid of what they're going to say about your thing and about my thing and about whatever you're trying to do, but you still need that input. You need it. And you don't have to listen to all of it. You don't have to do everything they say, but you still need that input.

So I think those are, you know, those are a couple of pieces that, you know, words, words of wisdom maybe for, for folks that are listening. And I think that going back to what I said [00:19:00] earlier about identifying what you need to move forward is that you need to be able to both have kind of that macro look of where you're going.

But also understand that like tomorrow or like next week, this is my barrier. And that's really what I need to break down is the barrier that's directly in front of me. And so maybe that's asking for help. Maybe that's building a little bit of an advisory council of people who could help you while you're building it, which is okay.

You don't have to just look for partners and you don't have to be alone. You can work with folks at SCA or other, you know, other groups that are out there that can, that can help you. You know, connect with other people. Um, and I think that's, that'll be the last one that I'll focus on is that you're not alone.

You know, that so many, it is, it is a lonely journey, but that you are not there by yourself. And so, you know, I know a lot of those things focus on both like all regular entrepreneurs, all down to the whole umbrella. Um, but they're very, very applicable to social entrepreneurs. And I see it all the time where [00:20:00] people feel so lonely and, you know, they're trying to do good.

They've got this. This other thing that they're trying to do on top of just just going out and making money and for listeners I put air quotes around just because it's not just that's a big deal But yeah, so I don't know. I don't know if that's the right answer But I have I had a lot of things and I tried to mentally kind of narrow it Yeah,

David: super super helpful.

I think that that's True, especially in that startup phase, but also, you know, what we know about businesses, there's always pivots, right? So every time you pivot is a version of a startup. So I think it's really helpful to hear those words of wisdom again and again and again, because we're going to find ourselves in these spots again and again and again.

Lauren E: Yeah, David, I love that. Like every time you pivot, it's a startup. I'm going to totally steal that.

David: Sweet. Yeah, definitely. Go for it. I, yeah, and I love just, you know, I really just love the breakdown of so many things about this conversation to the definition, what good even means. The [00:21:00] journey is the word that we've been kind of floating around a lot in this particular conversation as well.

And I think that that's super applicable to the. To the movement to, you know, I think, um, you know, what I'm learning as a social entrepreneur, myself and my, and my coffee businesses. Yeah. In some definitions, maybe I'm not one, but I also know who I am and what I'm trying to do. I know where I'm going. So that's why that journey word is, I think such a powerful word.

And I, you know, I just need to look at what's the next barrier in front of me, both in terms of the revenue. And also I want to continue to my social impact. And so there's a barrier in that lane as well. What's the next one? Let's tackle that. And then what's the next one after that? And let's tackle that.

So, I mean, I think that, you know, one of the things I love about this particular interview is that you are someone who has a wide perspective of the entire movement because of the people that you've attracted for how long you've been a part of it. So as a supporter of the social enterprise [00:22:00] movement, where, what are things that you see happening?

Where do you see the movement going? Um, and, and maybe even to follow that up, like, what do you wish the movement could embrace

Lauren E: next? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's It is a hard, you know, I don't have a crystal ball, like nobody, you know, nobody has that, but I do, you know, I see, you know, something I kind of alluded to earlier is that there's, there's more and more data and it doesn't have to just be data.

It can be like qualitative experiences of people, but there is more and more data to support the fact that, you know, kind of, yeah. Millennials and after want to do good and they want to support companies that do good and they will walk away if a company doesn't align and that if they don't live to their values and they'll never come back like there's, you know, there's all this data, you know, that exists and there's, there's more and more of it and that people will take a pay cut to work at a socially conscious business and like all these things, right?

Like, and so I see this kind of, you know, um, use the word movement, you know, [00:23:00] movement behind the movement of just the general public. Yeah. Caring, right? Like and wanting to do something good. And not only that, but believing that businesses have the responsibility to do more than just provide a paycheck to some people, right?

Like they have the responsibility to do something more as a social impact. And you know, what that is, is probably is widely right. You know, discussed and defined, but like people believe that that's a responsibility. And so what I really, you know, if I did have a crystal ball or if I had to make like a prediction, you know, on the, on the good side of things and the, on the wishful and happy days, you know, rainbow and butterfly days, I think there's going to be a point in time when every business has to.

to be a social enterprise because they, you know, because people will demand it whether they want to or not, you know, I think, and that's where we get some of the good washing and the stuff happening because people are saying they're doing it, but at some point people are going to call BS and be like, no, like you.

Don't do good. [00:24:00] This is what doing good means. And, you know, and again, there are, there are folks out there that say the paycheck is doing good and that's okay. And, and I think that is true and people need paychecks and that needs to happen, but I do think there are just more and more folks that are saying that's good, but that's not enough.

Like there needs to be more of that. So I think, you know, if I needed to say where we were going, that would be. What I, again, happy, wishful, rainbow days. That's, that's where you get me. Love it. I also have like jaded, jaded, disillusioned days. We could go down that route, but I don't think that's a good idea.

I

David: actually am very curious about that. Um, like what do those jaded days look like? No, I'm serious. I think that there might, there could be some wisdom.

Lauren E: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. I mean, you know, those days it's more around just the nature of humans and, you know, humans care about. You know, things like convenience, right?

And so there are certain organizations that can provide that to you. And whether they're doing good or not, doesn't matter [00:25:00] if my, you know, water bottle shows up tomorrow, right? Like that, that is not what I'm thinking about. And it's a, you know, it's a bigger social conversation about equity and, you know, and haves and have nots and the gap between the wealthiest and poorest folks.

And I can have a whole conversation about that with, I think, you know, there's that like, where there are so many people who. You can't, because of the nature of the lives they have to live, can't put any brainpower behind a choice or they don't have a choice, right? Like we say, Oh, you choose with your dollars.

Well, what if I don't have a choice? You know, I don't have enough dollars to make a choice, so I may care, but I, I can't support that or I can't afford an electric vehicle or I can't, you know, like I care, but I can't Afford it. And so that's a bigger kind of societal conversation on those. Like, you know what though?

I are like, okay, like,

David: so no, no, no, no, for sure. And I think that that's, that's an important part of the conversation. If anything [00:26:00] else, if anything, I think maybe it shows there's. Where are some opportunities might lie, right? We know that convenience is a high value. We know that in some ways, social enterprises serve a privileged sector of the, of the market, right?

So how do we continue to push into it, to add the value in, in, and recognize all the different stakeholders and the more that we do that again, the journey is such an important part of this conversation, the more that we can. Continue to push towards that inclusivity, um, no matter where you're at. So I know I was really, it was a joke, but I think that that's, that was a really helpful segment and, and good perspective to bring to the conversation.

Lauren E: Well, yeah, of course. And I think that, I mean, I use the word equity, um, and you used inclusivity and like those kinds of things. And I think, you know, we, we, and I really believe in kind of the truest sense of those words. And it's, you know, that we're. [00:27:00] You know, we're helping people, but they're not Like they're not they or the others or, you know, they're, they're we.

And so how do we help we move forward and how do we, you know, help to better the communities in which we find ourselves? And that's all levels of the community. And so I think, you know, that is one conversation that we sometimes have to have that feels a little bit hard with some of our entrepreneurs.

And it goes back actually to that kind of customer fit product market fit conversation that we're having, because people want to Survey or test with people like them, because that is the most comfortable thing. But often the folks that are most going to be impacted by the product or service that you're putting out are maybe not people like you.

And so going and meeting them, them, they, the others, right? Like going and introducing yourself and learning, talking to two people. Two end users may be more valuable than talking to a hundred, you know, folks that, that may or may not ever use your product or have 15 [00:28:00] choices for your product, right? And so that's, you know, those are, those are pieces that are sometimes pretty hard conversations, but.

People are open to them. And I think, you know, we're, we're proud of the wide range of entrepreneurs that we serve. It's, it's very, very racially diverse, age diverse, socioeconomically diverse. Um, and we've been very purposeful about that, you know, by working with different, um, we call them pipeline partners, people who work with entrepreneurs or who meet with, you know, maybe have a niche of a particular demographic, you know, we will partner with them and say, Hey, we Will you please send this out, you know, when our applications open or when our program opens, um, so that we can pull from all different groups.

And I think the groups learn so much more, you know, when they're in with, with people who are, who maybe wouldn't have been their, their best friend or their neighbor even, but. You know, in this case, they're, they're working together as a cohort to, to kind of get somewhere and to learn stuff. So it's definitely something that's, that's really important.

And I appreciate it. I know, I, I know it was a joke, but I appreciate the, [00:29:00] the jaded days coming, the question.

David: Yeah, it's good. And beautifully said.

Lauren DH: So. So good, so good. Well, just to kind of wrap up, we would love to hear a little bit more about, um, where SeaChange is headed in the next, you know, year or two, and how people can get plugged in and involved with your work if they wish.

Lauren E: Yeah, of course. So we're, um, we've gone through a couple of years of, like, kind of big growth. And so for 2023, Or we're kind of trying to get our legs under ourselves a little bit. We have, you know, these affiliate partners in different markets. We have our market managers in different markets. Um, but that is all within the last couple of years.

So like, you know, I, I would love to, um, not necessarily slow down, but use that time to kind of get a solid. foundation, make sure that everybody's good from a staffing perspective, that everybody's being taken care of in the way that I want them to be. Um, and also, you know, continue to grow in an intentional, intentional way to [00:30:00] other, other markets.

We will be hiring for another market manager. And this, I did, I forgot to put this in the, Questions, questions. But we will be hiring another market manager in 2024. So if any of the listeners are well networked in your particular market, and you would love to run a social enterprise accelerator program there, be on the lookout on our website for when we post that job, probably in Q1, maybe Q2.

Hopefully I can get it up in Q1, um, cause we'll be looking to run one more. We want to have four kind of signature cohorts that are ours. Um, and then as far as people getting plugged in, it all depends on kind of who you are and what your, what your role is. So we, we are often, you know, I think every nonprofit's looking for funders.

So I'll throw that out there. We're always always looking for people who want to help pay for stuff. So that would be great. Um, but we're also always looking for organizations that want to, that have, um, Maybe a service like marketing or accounting or bookkeeping or, you know, things that [00:31:00] entrepreneurs need so in kind service providers, but also, um, subject matter experts and things like financials or, um, business modeling or customer acquisition or any of the kind of normal branding any of the normal, you know, business things, um, We bring in the subject matter experts as volunteers for every market, and then also mentors that are more kind of broad business knowledge, volunteers, and then obviously entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs that are in that stage.

If that sounded good to you, um, the affiliate programming and the signature cohort programming, which are the Full cohorts, like the most in depth are free to you. You just have to apply to get in, um, the online curriculum, if it's online only, where you're kind of doing it at your own pace does have a cost, but it's relatively inexpensive compared to other online, um, training things, but you can kind of pick and choose.

So all of that's on our website. And my understanding is those will be in the notes for the podcast. So, um, but it's S E A C H N G. org. Um, and then you [00:32:00] can check out kind of programming or whatever. Anything you're interested in, just fill out the online form, and we will, we will get back to you, um, with more information as soon as we can.

Lauren DH: Amazing. Thank you so much, Lauren. This has been really awesome and interesting, and I just love hearing your perspective on all things social

Lauren E: enterprise. Yeah, well, thanks so much for having me, and I know that this is not, like, the format of this, but I want to ask you all those same questions. Same thing, like, ah, and I'm, we're gonna have to end now, but, um, I really appreciate, uh, the chance to be here and to talk a little bit about sea change.

I, you know, we're also a part, you know, of the ecosystem building something called the Social Impact Alliance. So you can also, you know, learn more about that on our website. And so there's a ton of stuff going on. Um, but I appreciate the time, I appreciate the space to, to talk about something. I care very much about.

Thank you so much.

David: Well, we'll definitely have to record part two someday, so, or you need to launch your own podcast and we'll come help you. [00:33:00]

Lauren E: We have a podcasting room in our office, but I like, I don't, I don't know anything about it. You guys can do that. That's great.

David: Well, thanks again. And yeah, for all the work that you do in

Lauren E: this ecosystem.

Yeah, of course. Yeah.