Social Ventures Weekend with Cambridge Judge Business School

Back in November, my boyfriend and I attended a Social Ventures Weekend in at Cambridge  Judge Business School. We had been meaning to do this for a while as we have a few ideas of starting our own Social Venture. 

Cambridge Judge Business School - A polytechnic Hogwarts!

What is a Social Venture?

Social Ventures or Social Enterprises are companies or individuals (often referred to initially as Start-Ups), that exist to develop, find and implement solutions to solve social, cultural or environmental issues. Specific to my field of dentistry, we are hearing more and more about Social Enterprises in the Community Dental Services (CDS) i.e. private companies and not NHS trusts are winning tenders to provide CDS in certain areas e.g. CDS CIC.

Why was the weekend useful?

I don't think my brain has worked as hard in a long time. It was great to be able to chat to the other ventures who had chosen to come to the weekend and learn about some social and environmental problems I hadn't really come across or had much knowledge about. Some ventures were more established than other but it was reassuring to see that many, just like us, had come to investigate and explore an idea they had rather than already have a fully developed venture or business. 

The weekend allowed us to expand our thoughts about our venture and using a Business Model Canvas really helped us - especially with the help and input from some fantastic mentors. We also had the opportunity to quiz some of the Social Ventures who had entered the Incubator scheme offered by Cambridge Social Ventures. These included eco-friendly wax food wraps, an educational company helping Indian children and a cleaning service whose employees were the homeless. 

Throughout the 3 days we had several talks which were not only relevant to setting up Social Ventures, but the topics were also highly relevant to any sort of business (including running a dental practice!). These were:
  • Legal Structures and Governance
  • Finance
  • Market Research
  • Sales
  • Pitching
Team 'Dentrepreneur' sneaking a selfie in between lectures!

We came away heads buzzing with ideas and wallets full of business cards of everyone we had met! Many thanks to all the ventures for sharing your ideas with us, the speakers and mentors over the weekend and Cambridge Social Ventures - especially Tamzin and Belinda for all your hard work!

If you want to find out more about Cambridge Social Ventures or sign up to the next weekend, see their website. And watch this space regarding our Dentrepreneur project!

Have you been on the Social Venture Weekend or applied for the Incubator? What did you think?  Let me know in the comments below. 

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