Why is Peer Support Important for Entrepreneurs?
In recent years, passionate individuals with innovative ideas have established various social enterprises aimed at bringing change, increasingly focusing on individuality and following their dreams. Social enterprises allow for a more prosperous economy and play a major role in changing society through various inventive projects. However, very often, stepping into the shoes of an entrepreneur can be extremely challenging, especially in a competitive world. At such a time, coaching and peer support is an essential element in starting up a social enterprise. It is also crucial to have continual follow up after the coaching is implemented since guidance can essentially abate financial risks.
Businesses committed to the betterment of society are widely supported by investors who are interested in achieving both social and financial return on their investment. Although these ‘impact investors’ are increasing in numbers, it may be difficult for start-up social entrepreneurs to collaborate and connect with them. Peer support, especially from those already well informed about the business world, can ease the barriers for the upcoming entrepreneurs. In recent years, the Government of Ontario has highlighted its strategy to establish Ontario as the leading social enterprise jurisdiction in North America by installing a well-coordinated support system for social entrepreneurs. Its aim has been to increase the number of social enterprise start-ups, create more jobs and scale up profits for social enterprises through impact investments.
Similarly, coaching social entrepreneurs helps them to start up with a well-researched business plan that allows for an in-depth study of the market which the social entrepreneur is entering. This helps in figuring the barriers and risks involved in the market, as well as choosing a desirable location for the business and naming and registering the business. Various types of peer support and follow-up can cater to day-to-day operations, decision-making, marketing and sales and promotion strategies.
At Artistri Sud, we are committed to creating and easing the business world for start-up women entrepreneurs of Latin America. In our recent ASSET program in Chile, we have achieved a 92% increase in textile revenue in just one year, which helped to lift some of the women above poverty line. Personal incomes of the women also increased by 164%. These figures were achieved through our five-day ASSET program and then the crucial follow-up conducted by Artistri Sud members. The follow-ups, in the form of monthly Skype calls, help women with their decision-making, sales and marketing strategies. In the case of small businesses, this continuous follow up and support is just as crucial as the initial coaching as it can drastically impact sales and profits. Together, the combination of the program with the follow-up therefore ensures that the Artistri Sud members learn to manage their businesses with reassurance that continuous support will be given for the challenges along the way!
written by: Emina Ghajizai
edited by: Marie Bernard-Brind’Amour
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