If you wish to set up a WISE, you will need to focus on the production of a particular product or the delivery of a service to be sold on the open market. This means quality standards have to meet those that apply in that particular sector. Meeting customer requirements is essential to trade successfully and remain financially viable.

Also, given that a significant proportion of the income of WISEs is generated through the trade of goods and/or services, they benefit from being based on products and/or services that have potential profit margins that are big enough to cover the additional costs of supporting vulnerable people.

This means that WISEs need to:

  • Be aware of market dynamics
  • Offer excellence (the quality of the products and services you offer will be your best marketing tool)
  • Create market differentiation through the social mission, appealing to consumers’ social conscience
  • In all likelihood, hire marketing professionals or other experts (or invest in training in those areas)

The development of commercial partnerships and interactions with stakeholders is part and parcel of developing a business attitude. Networks are fundamental to the success of business initiatives. This means you will need to establish rapport with:

  • Suppliers and business partners
  • The local community
  • Clients/customers

In the specific case of WISEs, an accord is necessary between the target group needs and the business idea. In other words, one should harmonise the social and the economic goals.

  • Look into the accumulated knowledge and experience that, with the rise of social entrepreneurship in recent years, is now at your disposal
  • Look for experienced, knowledgeable partners that can assist you in striking a balance between the social, commercial and financial dimensions.