What does it take to rapidly grow your social enterprise by a factor of 2x, 5x, or even 10x? The risk is high, but when you are well prepared to take on the unique challenges of scaling, the reward of rapidly expanding your impact is worthwhile. Miller Center’s ScaleOut program is geared toward just that — supporting social entrepreneurs in developing a scaling execution plan and story based on best practices so that they are set up for success. Last week, six stellar social entrepreneurs began their four-month journey in the 2022 ScaleOut cohort. They were all selected precisely because they are ready to scale, and need some extra support to make sure they are forming a solid approach for their organization.
These entrepreneurs are already doing incredible work. Marie-Claire Kuja, CEO of Kuja Eco Production Ltd. is expanding access to healthy and affordable sanitary napkins to low-income women and girls in Cameroon, amid an ongoing crisis. Smart Havens Africa is finding continued success providing a sustainable and affordable pathway to homeownership for low-income families in Africa, and Anne Rweyora, Managing Director, is preparing to reach even more families. James Kariuki, Managing Director of International Research and Development Africa Ltd. has a brilliant solution to increase smallholder farmers’ income that involves sugar beets, and you should ask him about it.
All of these entrepreneurs are alumni of a previous Miller Center Accelerator, and some of them have gone through multiple programs over the years. Sarah Koch, Founder of Development in Gardening (DIG), has participated in five different types of Miller Center opportunities since 2019, including hosting two groups of fellows; these have helped DIG solidify the roots of their foundation so they can grow and scale their regenerative garden solution for uniquely vulnerable people. Amplio Network’s Executive Director Cliff Schmidt has been a part of the Miller Center Family since 2010, and Amplio is poised to expand access to their “Talking Book,” which is transforming lives through audio technology in 13 countries already. Rennis Joseph, CEO of Ignis Careers Pvt. Ltd., has taken advantage of several different alumni opportunities, including the peer-to-peer Asia Leadership Circle where he made valued connections with other alumni. Ignis is promoting purposeful education among underserved students in India through STEM, English, and life skills learning.
Throughout the next four months, these entrepreneurs, accompanied by experienced Miller Center mentors, will be investigating the four crucial questions prior to scaling: Readiness (Which aspects of the business are not quite ScaleOut-ready?), Fit (What changes to the original model are required for success?), Recipe (What is the “secret sauce” of the original model that should not be modified during scaling?), and Execution (What does the team need to prepare to execute the scaling plan?). The ScaleOut approach is quite interrogative; our mentors will focus on asking questions that challenge the entrepreneurs to think about their business in a different way. After all, it takes a different set of skills to scale your business than it does to keep your daily operations running.
Executive Fellow Rob Shelton, co-founder and author of the ScaleOut curriculum, notes that there are three main types of scaling to consider, and entrepreneurs must consider each carefully before taking the leap to scale their business. As a globally recognized Silicon Valley-based adviser, author, speaker, and resident expert on scaling, he has a few tips on where to start. Check out Rob’s article and you just might think about scaling in a new light.