Partnering with CCLF to Promote Social Enterprise

Belinda with Mr. Taft West at the kick-off of the CCLF Social Enterprise Workshop Series.

Business as a force for good? It’s an idea at the heart of CiTTA Partnership – and the organizations we partner with and learn from in the social impact space every day!

That’s why we want to extend our gratitude to Mr. Taft West, Vice President of Technical Assistance and Sustainability at the Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF), for inviting our CEO and Chief Consultant Belinda Li to lead CCLF’s latest workshop series on the ins and outs of social enterprise. Read on for more about CCLF, the first session we did together, and how you can be part of the upcoming August workshop!

Visionary Social Impact Investing

We’re inspired by the vision for social investment spearheaded by CCLF. Since 1991, they’ve been providing funding and assistance to low-and-moderate income people in the south and west sides of the city of Chicago. They’re also there filling the investor gaps for developers with hard-to-fund projects that benefit previously disinvested communities. Mr. Maurice Williams, CCLF’s Vice President of Economic Development, explains how it all works on CLTV – watch it here!

In-depth Workshops Explore Key Aspects of Social Enterprise

Part of CCLF’s vision includes empowering start-ups and organizations interested in exploring how earned revenue can fuel their social and environmental impact. As a part of that, they invited Belinda to lead a 3-hour long workshop titled: “An Introduction to Social Enterprise: How Your Organization Can Do Good AND Do Well,” which took place on April 18, 2019.

Belinda presenting case studies of successful social enterprises.

Belinda presenting case studies of successful social enterprises.

Belinda met with 14 existing or aspiring social entrepreneurs – some already running start-ups of their own and others still in the pre-launch phase, and the audience was a mix of for-profits and nonprofits. The workshop covered definitions of social enterprise, some frequently asked questions about social enterprise, and case examples of many different types of business models that established and successful social enterprises have used.

Most importantly, the interactive workshop drew from the participants’ own experiences and desires for social change. Belinda led participants in hands-on exercises designed to help them define their own missions, and generate ideas for their business models

“The Business of Social Enterprise: Key Considerations When Starting or Growing Your Social Enterprise.”  

CCLF Workshop series

Social entrepreneurs at the CCLF workshop.

Feedback from this first CCLF social enterprise workshop was overwhelmingly positive! Participants noted the expertise presented, and they appreciated the break-out sessions and participant engagement, saying it was a great way to brainstorm business models. Some said they are already looking forward to the follow-up CCLF workshop that Belinda will lead  on August 20th, titled: “The Business of Social Enterprise: Key Considerations When Starting or Growing Your Social Enterprise.”

Thanks again to CCLF and Mr. Taft West for partnering with us on this exciting series – and for CCLF’s Ms. Pamela Graves for promoting the events. If you find yourself ready to explore starting or growing your social enterprise, we encourage you to mark your calendars now to attend the August 20th workshop!  You’ll benefit from that workshop whether you’re in the non-profit or for-profit space. Stay tuned for more details on how to register!