Shana Dressler had worked in the media sector for quite some time before media itself showed her how she could help create solutions for social problems. While at LinkTV, a network that broadcasted news about global issues, she reviewed film material about social entrepreneurs who created solutions through business and decided to take action.
She went from telling people about solutions to creating and executing them by founding the Social Innovators Collective, an organization that works to train and nurture the next wave of social change leaders so that they can demonstrate both measurable impact and achieve financially sustainability for their own organizations. The need for training is clear: she mentions that a significant number of social enterprises and nonprofits fail in their first year because the people behind them are more focused on thinking about and analyzing the issue they want to solve instead of managing the organization that will solve it. Social impact was by far outweighing financial sustainability in the skill sets of most social entrepreneurs and “learning by doing” was proving to be a very costly exercise, not only for the entrepreneurs but for the people their organizations wanted to benefit. “Helping people” wasn’t being taken seriously.
In October 2011, SIC started teaching workshops and classes in New York City to support the potential social entrepreneurs who were missing the essential small business skills needed to stay in business. As a way of having further impact on this issue, the Social Innovators Collective has developed 20 Guides on Venture Building for Startup Changemakers with contributions from Shana, SIC instructors and a team of designers that would make the material understandable and visually appealing. These will be available in PDF form for free in a web platform and will focus on developing skills that are needed to solve the most crucial problems social enterprises face on their stat up stage. Shana considers this only the beginning of the conversations about the need for training social entrepreneurs, just like other professionals are being trained on their field.

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