Have you ever seen a big problem in your community that remains unsolved by traditional means or just needs innovative thinking?
Maybe you're a community leader with an idea to solve big problems, but resources are limited and you want to find sustainable models.
Perhaps you're a small business owner interested in how your business can do more good in your community while growing your business.
Jon Dengler was saddened to see problems in his community:
Homeless people living on the streets during the winter in Tampa
Lack of access to job centers due to shut down bus routes
Trash and illegal dumping that included old bikes
Here are some common approaches and issues:
Call elected officials to address public issues. However, many local government budgets can fall short or calls go ignored.
Ask charities and volunteers to help out. While charities can be a viable private resource, they may be inconsistent with lower capacity for big issues.
Approach local businesses. It depends...they typically only get involved when it affects them directly.
So what would you do if you saw problems like this in your community?
Let’s see what Jon did.
First, Jon co-created The Well, a bike co-op where folks who needed transportation could come and build their own bike for free.
They accepted donated bikes diverting them from landfills or illegal dumping and reused an old shipping container placed behind a homeless center.
Over a few years and numerous requests, they started selling refurbished bikes to the public through Wellbuilt Bikes.
Jon’s innovation was to see problems in his community, rally available resources and start a program to teach homeless persons how to repair and earn them.
Now, Tampa homeless can take part in the Earn-a-Bike program and have free transportation to go to job interviews, visit family, and have a sense of community on weekly rides. The public can now purchase recycled bicycles at an affordable price and support a good cause.
Hi, I’m Paul Wright and I have 20 years of experience in social change and innovation projects just like Wellbuilt Bikes and many others. I’ve been a grant manager, mission lender, coach, and now trainer helping social entrepreneurs create more sustainable enterprises for the greater good.
Over my career, do you know what the #1 question I was asked?
“What is the ONE THING we can do to solve big problems in the world?”
I learned that society's problems are much more complex and require a new set of skills and thinking to address them. So rather than a silver bullet solution, it requires a holistic approach towards more durable solutions.
The short answer: It takes innovation that starts with new thinking.
That’s why I’ve created an introductory course called Innovation Lab.
I’m now sharing practical examples, applicable practices and tools I’ve learned working with social innovators creating change for the greater good.
My aim is to train people across multiple sectors to think differently and coach those that create enterprises that benefit communities, generate profits, and become sustainable for the greater good.
I’m inviting you to take steps towards innovation for the greater good.
Innovation by Sector - whether you're in the public or private sector, you’ll see pathways towards innovative thinking.
Social Enterprise Examples - follow the stories of real entrepreneurs and social innovators from their concept stage to growth of their venture.
Your Toolkit - access easy-to-use checklist and pdf downloads that help you make decisions about your ideas.
Self Assessment & Next Steps - understand yourself and what you might do next along your innovation journey.
through stories of innovators solving big problems
Mindsets, tools, and models...
that equip you be more innovative
to communicate with confidence to impact investors
of the types of capital available in this sector
A starting point...
to assess your readiness for innovation.
We’ll answer the following questions….
What is a social enterprise and why does it matter?
Can a non-profit earn profits as a social enterprise?
Are there grants for businesses with a cause?
What does it mean to become sustainable?
What resources are most important for change?
Which industry is best for our local development?
How do I prevent my idea from failure?
What are the tools to help me get started?
What are the skills needed to be an innovator?
How design thinking helps my innovation idea?
Online access to a self-paced course (estimated 3 hours)
Downloads: templates, tools, and applicable resources
Access to online community forums for ongoing discussion
Certificate upon completion and updates to course materials
Discounts on other WVS Courses & Coaching services
What is the definition of a social enterprise?
A: A social enterprise is a common good corporation with a purpose to create profits that benefit people and places for future generations. The legal structure of the organization is not the deciding factor but including a social impact or community benefit mission in it’s charter is useful.
Does this course apply to for-profit businesses?
Yes! Your business can also create community benefits including: livable wages, environmental stewardship practices and useful products/services.
What if I’ve not started, or don’t have a big problem to solve yet?
No problem, we’ll show you how to see problems and approach them from a sustainable solutions perspective so you’ll be more equipped to be innovative.
How long will I have access to the course?
When you enroll in this course, you will have ongoing access and we will keep you informed on new course updates and resources each month.
Will I be able to start a social enterprise immediately upon completion?
Maybe, depending on your situation. I recommend you validate the problems and solutions that you think will help next. We offer a follow-on live virtual course called Design Lab when you want to get started.
What is the instructor’s expertise in this area?
Paul Wright has been supporting community benefit projects and leaders for over 20 years. He has helped them access $20 million in capital to start and grow projects such as: community services facilities, affordable housing, main street businesses, entrepreneurship training. Wright Venture Services, LLC is trusted by agencies such as: Kauffman FastTrac, Catholic Charities USA, Social Enterprise Alliance and Appalachian Regional Commission.
How are you able to offer so much for only $49?
We are able to do this due to regional partnerships and support such as Communities of Healing in West Virginia and a free curriculum from Kauffman Foundation. If you live in West Virginia, please email us for a special coupon code for a greater discount and access to a local mentor.
Do you have a money back guarantee?
Yes. Even if you complete the course, but still feel this course isn't for you, we will give you a full refund.