What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Funding: we are today dependent on project funding, typically of 80% project value, requiring us to fund the remaining 20% from other sources. We need also to build up additional capacity to support the new partners, and add human resources to our organization. Unless we are successful in procuring adequate funding we are restricted in realizing the potential in our concept. We are therefore looking for strategic funding partners within the philanthropic and corporate sectors to allow us to rapidly scale and ramp up our licensees to achieve sustainability.
Scaling strategy: we need to manage the risks in expanding in scaling globally by successfully adapting our model in number of larger international markets before settling on the right and most efficient global scaling strategy. We need to optimize the model in our initial markets and develop best practices for accelerated global scaling, possibly by ”open sourcing” the entire model (making all our knowledge available for free to everyone wishing to join our community), and offering consulting, support and certification services for the planning and operations of Specialisterne-businesses.
Acceptance of Specialisterne-entities as new entrants in the market: We need stakeholders across societies to join as partners in supporting and growing the acceptance of the Specialisterne concept, and helping us to remove the barriers that exist amongst authorities and corporations to buy services from new market entrants such as local Specialisterne operations.
Tell us about your partnerships
Specialist People Foundation is currently funded from donations and project grants, but is operating a license based model (flat annual fees and royalty on topline revenue of licensees) whereby we will reach breakeven within five years through a number of licensee partnerships. Grants and donations will however remain critical within a five years horizon as we are ramping up licensees and they are building and scaling their businesses.
We partner with local companies on setting up Specialisterne businesses, who are operating under license from us. Specialisterne is a for-profit model, where each business is locally owned and should achieve break-even within 3-5 years.
We have a corporation with World Autism Organization and are in a process of forming a partnership with Lions Club International.
Explain your selections
Foundations provide us with project grants and help us build capacity.
Businesses are essentially the customers of Specialisterne services, but can also elect to support SPF with grants and donations, and may consume future services from us as well e.g. mentoring services for employment of people with ASD in the mainstream workplace.
Regional and National government are key stakeholders to provide some level of financial support in particular for the training and assessment parts of our model. They are also important to help provide the right environment for operating the business.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
Capacity building through grants and donations: Required to support our increasing community of license partners and evolve the Specialisterne operational model, tools and knowledge base.
Building a critical mass of license partners: Set up further Specialisterne operations globally with local operating partners, responsible for procuring the start-up funding and operating the business. Focus on the replication of "localized" Specialisterne operations in Europe and USA, and enter India, China, and likely one or two locations in the Middle East and Africa.
Broaden knowledge dissemination and collaboration: Establish a Specialist People Academy (SPA) in USA, and possibly India & China, to offer stakeholders training in our concept and methods, and to research & develop services and programs for people with ASD. Develop new business areas outside the IT area incl. services for schools, universities etc. to educate people in our methodologies and concept in order to provide better understanding and support for specialist people. We will over time expand our focus beyond high functioning people with ASD in the IT sector.
Engagement with partner from the Corporate sector: Ensure people with ASD are getting embedded into mainstream corporate employment with an appropriate offering/value proposition, supported with innovative mentoring models to both the corporate staff (as employers of people with ASD) and the people with ASD themselves. The corporate partners will be supported partly SPF, the Specialist People Academy and by local Specialisterne licensees.