Entrepreneurial networks to drive positive change. Networks and collaborations are proving crucial to solve the greatest challenges of our time. Networks of business communities are becoming the key to identify and develop innovative solutions to achieve global development goals, offering many benefits to the realities that support them to increase their impact. Every year, the Impact Hub network analyzes some of our 16,500 entrepreneurs at over 100 locations in over 55 countries. We want to find out how being part of our network has helped them achieve their goals. The results of this research were analyzed and compiled independently by the Social Entrepreneurship Center / University of Economics and Business of Vienna. The latest data from survey participants show that the sense of community, collaboration, access to better infrastructure and better motivation are the main advantages for entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.
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The needs of social entrepreneurs
The support needs of social entrepreneurs can be very different. Developing skills and new ideas, strengthening motivation, accessing better work infrastructures, gaining visibility and credibility are at the forefront of social and environmental initiatives. However, the need to “feel part of a wider community and network” is emerging as the most important aspect. Ultimately, it is collaboration with colleagues, tutors and consultants that helps entrepreneurs navigate and meet their needs.
Impact Hub asked its members to classify the relevance of certain needs in their work. The first three are:
The power of intentional communities
To achieve a large-scale impact, it is necessary to inspire, connect and engage a critical mass of people by providing them with knowledge, resources and access to a committed community. This not only increases the social capital of entrepreneurs, but also helps them to acquire new skills, visibility, diversify investment sources, accelerate growth, increase impact and, in some cases, increase revenue growth.
The thoughts of entrepreneurs on community networks:
Entrepreneurs who are part of the Impact Hub network feel supported in:
Develop new ideas: 65% Know the new trends: 70% Strengthen motivation: 77%
Feeling part of a wider community: 84% Collaborate with other members: 76% Links with consultants and experts: 68%
Increase visibility and credibility: 62% Learn new skills and abilities: 65% Get access to better infrastructure: 78%
Collaboration in the Impact Hub network
1,500 projects have been started by two or more members.
2 members out of 10 worked together.
435,000 hours of peer support were provided by the members.
The research found that the positive effects of collaboration on organizational performance are particularly evident over time. Compared to the less cooperating members, the most active members closed the year with $ 17,300 more than the previous year.
Personalized support programs
Understanding the different needs of social entrepreneurs during the various phases of their entrepreneurial journey and linking them to a vast network of talents, tools, partners and infrastructures, guarantees that it is possible to offer them personalized support. The Impact Hub network has managed over 100 business support programs and over 100 collaborative innovation programs focused on SDG and ecosystem development.
Program participants attribute 40% of their success to the network and feel supported by us in:
Get visibility and credibility for their business: 75% Develop new skills and abilities: 75% Strengthen personal motivation: 81% In contact with experts and consultants who support their growth: 82% Feeling part of a larger community and network: 88%