1. Because we use Design Thinking as our primary development method
In our Social Entrepreneurship Incubation Program, we use Design Thinking, one of the most customer-centered development methods.
Design Thinking is based on continuous interaction with prospective customers. Whatever service or product you are developing, your customers will have the opportunity to shape it from the beginning.
Social enterprises and purpose-driven businesses are supposed to solve real-life problems. We can't afford to come up with an idea and then try hard to sell it to someone, or, worse, try to create a problem that didn't exist before.
If we want to solve real problems, we need to know them. We need to know the people who are suffering from this problem, and we need to communicate with them to come up with a solution that will be a product or service of our enterprise.
2. Because we want you to increase your social capital
We designed our incubation program for young people who have no previous entrepreneurial experience and do not have the expertise yet in a field to know their target group very well.
They also do not have the capital to invest in their first business.
Every business needs capital, but there are different forms of it.
Social capital may be worth more than money. Especially when you are in people's business, in social entrepreneurship.
Because what is social capital? People. Connections. Engagement. Community.
When we ask you to build your community around your topic even before you start developing your product or service, we want to increase your very much needed social capital that connects you with your prospective customers.
Being connected with 100 relevant people in your niche and continuously communicating with them while developing your idea is the best way to bypass the lack of a robust R&D and marketing budget or decades of experience and expertise.
The example of I'm Friendly Co
I’m Friendly Co is a Singapore based mental health social enterprise with the vision of creating a world where the Hurt are Heard. Being heavily youth-centric much emphasis is placed on community building and generating trust.
I’m Friendly Co adopts a funnel approach towards community building, using Instagram, a social media platform with high discoverability (in-feed recommendations, explore page, ads) as the top of funnel, and subsequently directing its audience to its Telegram channel for a more intimate relationship with the brand.
One key factor of consideration for this structure, was the format of each social media platform used. Instagram’s algorithm only displays content to a subset of an accounts followers. Based on the interactions with that content, Instagram is then able to determine the quality of the content, and if it should then be pushed out to a wider audience. Instagram is also visual platform, in which users are accustomed to quickly scroll through content, with minimal attention span for each piece of content. Telegram channels on the other hand allows for longer form content and grants companies to sieve through and connect with their more engaged audience. It is a powerful tool for educating consumers, and promoting word of mouth (far easier to share content via forwarding).
I’m Friendly Co’s Instagram has approx. 1,610 followers, with an average engagement rate of 2.87%, it’s Telegram channel has 171 followers, with 62.57% of followers having the notifications enabled (will receive notification upon new content posted).