Community Enterprise

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Community Enterprise

Lilongwe, MalawiNew York, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

goods for good(GFG) is a nonprofit organization that builds business to support orphaned and vulnerable children. By collaborating with communities in Malawi, GFG develops income-generating enterprises to support the community’s orphan services.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The African continent is facing an orphan crisis. There are over one million orphans in Malawi and millions more vulnerable children. The majority of the Malawian population lives on less than $ 0.32 a day. Poverty hits these children the hardest and threatens their most basic rights to survival, education and protection from harm. Research proves that the most effective solution to this crisis is through support for community-based interventions. goods for good’s Community Enterprise Program provides communities with scalable and sustainable resources, so they can care for orphaned and vulnerable children in the long run.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

goods for good addressing this problem by collaborating with community-based organizations (CBOs) to care for Malawi’s orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC). CBOs are locally founded and run organizations that provide essential services to the community including feeding programs, material support to needy households and management of nursery schools. While CBOs provide the most sustainable and culturally appropriate care for OVC they are severely under resourced. Our innovative model of building businesses at CBOs empowers communities to provide sustainable services to OVC with their own income. These businesses, known as community enterprises, generate sustainable income for OVC programming today, tomorrow and beyond. Like microenterprises, these businesses usually operate with less than ten people, can be started with less than $35,000 of seed capital and are vital to improving the quality of life. Their defining element is that they are built and managed by the community.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

GFG’s community enterprise model is a three-year program that starts with as a single investment in a CBO, providing them with the start-up capital and technical training necessary to launch a business. goods for good then monitors the venture for three years, providing capacity-building where needed. At the end of three years the businesses will be solvent enough to stand on their own. All businesses are launched with a thorough business plan and budget. Additional investments for increasing a business’s sophistication or seeding complementary businesses are considered separate ventures. Today, one of the communities the Community Enterprise Program is making a difference in is Mchezi. This summer GFG launched a poultry business at the Mchezi CBO. The business is managed by members of the CBO’s board of directors. The same directors who make decisions that affect OVC’s lives are the ones who are the executive managers of these businesses. Mchezi has secured significant contracts from private enterprises and is well on its way to generating sustainable income to support their OVC.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

MicroEnterprise Africa, One Acre Fund and OSA. While there are other programs in Malawi supporting OVC through community interventions, what sets GFG apart is our relationships with our partners, which are substantive and tailored to their level and need. We pride ourselves not just on the financial success of our enterprises but on the number of years the business is sustained, the number of OVC impacted and the overall effect on the quality of the CBO’s programming. GFG believes in partnerships and does not see other players as challenges. GFG is building a community enterprise in partnership with JHA.
About You
Organization:
goods for good
About You
First Name

Megan

Last Name

O'Connor

Title

Development Manager

About Your Organization
Organization Name

goods for good

Organization Country

, NY, New York

Country where this project is creating social impact

, LLG, Lilongwe

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Project description
What are your organization's top three priorities in the next year?

goods for good is evolving programmatically. It maintains its mission of providing every child with the opportunity to achieve through access to education and meeting basic health and nutritional needs. However, it is now doing so in a ground-breaking way. Our organization launched its new Community Enterprise Program at the end of 2012. The Program seeds micro-enterprises at the Malawian-run community centers that care for orphans and other vulnerable children in the East African country of Malawi. The top three priorities for the next year are to:

1. Refine the Community Enterprise Program and scale it.
a. goods for good’s vision is to design something that can be easily replicated at community centers throughout Malawi and other parts of Africa. In the next year our organization will test the Program’s parameters to learn what works and what doesn’t.
2. Own our niche in the market.
a. goods for good knows it is doing something unique but we can’t prove it without a well-documented survey of the social enterprise landscape. We need to improve how we pitch ourselves to a wider audience. Our staff is often so focused on execution that they don’t have time to stop and consider our position from various outsiders’ perspectives.
3. Raise enough funds to support organizational and program expansion.
a. We have calculated that we need to raise $1.15MM this year to realize our goals.

Your project
Project Support
Need #1

Peer Benchmarking Analysis

Need #2

Consumer/Audience Acquisition

Based on your first choice of the eight technical categories you selected above, what is your specific project need? Please be specific!

Now that goods for good is focused squarely on the social enterprise space, we need to understand every player who is doing anything with some shared characteristics. We would like to map the landscape to understand where there is overlap with other organizations because while we know that no one is doing what we’re doing as a whole, there are some with a few overlapping characteristics. We want to leverage other organizations’ insights and lessons learned wherever possible. goods for good recognizes that we have to evolve operationally to realize our programmatic objectives so understanding the minimum resources required is critical. Finally, we need to know where we can turn to for funding since this programmatic evolution renders us ineligible for some past funding streams.

What three characteristics or qualities do you prioritize in working relationships/partnerships?
1.

Open communication style

2.

Ability to state and adhere to agreed upon roles and responsibilities

3.

Pride in one’s work

Will support from American Express be focused on your organization overall or a specific product/service? Please describe.

This support will impact the entire organization. It is about understanding where goods for good as a whole currently resides and where it should go in its next phase. We are interested in other players’ overall organizational profiles, program details, funding sources, impact metrics, operational resources and more. We want to understand the other players in this space inside and out.

Have you focused on the above area previously? If so, please explain, including whether you have worked with outside consultants before.

We have done a preliminary overview with a Catchafire volunteer. This person looked at 20 organizations and summarized their basic characteristics such as years in operation, mission, annual revenue and marketing pitch. They did not compare and contrast with our organization nor did they provide recommendations on changes that might benefit goods for good. We want to take preliminary research and turn it into a deeper dive that includes action items.

Are you able to commit 3-5 hours/wk over 10-12 weeks?

Yes

Are you able to meet virtually or at a convenient in-person location?

Yes

Are you able to meet in the city where your organization is based?

Yes

Impact
Rank your three intended outcomes of this project:
1.

Action items on changes to goods for good’s Community Enterprise Program that leverage other organizations’ lessons learned.

2.

A clear definition of goods for good’s unique place in the social enterprise landscape.

3.

A plan for fundraising from diverse, reliable, and high growth revenue streams.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Our Community Enterprise Program has launched businesses at two community centers. These businesses are expected to generate almost $30,000 in their first year of operation and provide goods and services for the most vulnerable orphans in the community as well as ongoing support for those whose needs are less acute. This money is opening doors and saving lives. For example, we recently witnessed the CBO paying for emergency medical services for orphans, and paying for training of the CBO members in early childhood development.

What is your project future impact after receiving professional support from American Express?

With consulting support from American Express we will be able to maximize our impact by scaling more quickly. If we can leverage other organizations’ best practices, fully extract the value of goods for good’s existing resources, and identify new funding streams, goods for good can quickly change the lives of tens of thousands more orphans. We will be able to ensure that these children have access to what they need to survive and thrive, and that they will receive this support from an independently sustainable source.

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