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Essential tools to plan your business

Whether you are a newbie, curious about the social enterprise world, an existing social enterprise, a new start-up or a business wanting to transition into a social enterprise, we recommend looking at the following public resources to help you kick start your journey.

Social Enterprise Fundamentals

You could start with the self-paced fundamentals resources available on the Social Startup Studio, created by Centre for Social Impact. The Social Enterprise Fundamentals are a set of resources that provide the ‘nuts and bolts’ of social enterprise. They have been designed to provide the information needed before starting a social enterprise – and they are free to access!

Social Enterprise Fundamentals Resources - Social Startup Studio by Centre for Social Impact.

Planning Guide for Social Enterprise

This guide focuses on social enterprises in Australia that provide employment for people who are excluded from the labour market. The guide is primarily aimed at people and/or organizations interested in starting a social enterprise, who don’t have experience of doing this before. It is a step-by-step guide to thinking about, researching, planning for, starting and then growing a social enterprise, which will help you to:

  • create a rigorous business plan for a sustainable social enterprise
  • obtain support for your social enterprise e.g. from partners or secure investment for your social enterprise
  • monitor and evolve your social enterprise in future years.

It is also designed to be a useful resource for more experienced practitioners, acting as a reference point and refresher.
Business Planning Guide for Social Enterprises - Social Ventures Australia.

Co-designing for Social Good

This Introduction to Co-Design explores the concept of designing social services, highlighting the shift towards applying design principles to enhance their effectiveness and social impact. It delves into co-design, engaging users in the design process, and aims to uncover how this collaborative approach can lead to innovative solutions and meaningful improvements in social services.

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that provides a visual framework for describing, analysing, and designing business models. It consists of nine key building blocks that represent the core aspects of a business, including customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships, and cost structure. This tool enables entrepreneurs and businesses to systematically understand and communicate how they create, deliver, and capture value.

The Business Model Canvas for Social Enterprise Design and accompanying booklet is a companion to your strategy and planning, developed by Ingrid Burkett. It’s a tool for you to get clear on how you’re creating revenue, how you’re creating impact, for who, and how both sides interact.

Useful templates:

Impact Measurement and Theory of Change

Impact assessment is a process of evaluating the effects or outcomes of a program, project, or intervention to understand its effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, and sustainability. It involves collecting and analysing data to assess whether desired changes or impacts have occurred and to what extent they can be attributed to the intervention.

Theory of change (ToC) is a comprehensive and systematic approach to planning, implementing, and evaluating social change initiatives. It outlines the underlying assumptions, logic, and pathways through which a program or intervention is expected to achieve its desired outcomes or impact. It helps stakeholders to articulate their theories of how change happens, clarify goals, identify interventions, and establish indicators for monitoring and evaluation.

Theory of Change template

Legal Services information

Justice Connect is a social justice organisation and community legal service and is itself a not-for-profit community organisation and registered charity provides great resources.

Social Enterprise Legal Toolkit visit Social Impact Hub.

Law On Earth is the only tele-law platform in the world that allows the public to manage their own legal needs and save up to 90% cost whilst providing professional indemnity insurance and also much higher transparency and security for users.

Accounting Information

Australian Taxation Office - provides free online resources including free webinars on many topics. Webinars are interactive online seminars presented by experienced tax officers.


Keeping Social Innovation Social - Strategies for remote working, and innovation at a distance.

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