The well known Business Model Canvas (BMC) has been used by thousands of business startups across the world to capture and articulate the key elements of the enterprise business model. However, for social enterprises, the BMC fails to articulate a key driving factor for the enterprise – its Social Purpose – which is so often at the heart of a social enterprise. This tool helps the team to develop their social enterprise business plan focused around their deeply held social purpose.


what is it

The Social Business Canvas is a visual map of the key stakeholders and the value propositions that a particular design solution or concept offers to them.


why is it important

A strong business model is key to writing good business model, promoting the business concept, and pitching to investors for raising funds. Doing this together deepens shared understanding and ideas for inclusion. Placing social purpose at the heart of the model focuses attention on what is really important from a social perspective.



how to do it

  1. Position the Social Business Canvas on a wall space where the team can gather around it.
  2. Using the materials developed earlier in the project start by completing the Key Customer Issue that has been the focus of the ideation and prototyping phases of the project. Try to encapsulate it in one sentence.
  3. Complete the Social Purpose section in the heart of the canvas. What is it that motivates you in this social enterprise? What do you hope to achieve/deliver in the short, medium, and longer term?
  4. Work together or split into smaller teams to work on completing the other sections of the Social Business Canvas. If it is the latter takes time to share and discuss the outcomes of each section with the wider team for agreement and further ideas and comments.
  5. Write any key questions or discussion points on post-it notes, one per note, and post them in a separate area for later reference.
  6. Capture the completed Social Business Canvas with photos as a record.
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