Social Business Model Innovation Report

10th May 2021

Funded Project:
Aspect Student Accelerator Programme (ASAP)

The Aspect Student Accelerator Programme (ASAP) was the Aspect network’s flagship social sciences student and alumni business accelerator. Hosted by LSE, this four-month programme was designed to support and scale socially responsible student and alumni ventures.

This Social Business Model Innovation report explores how startups with a social science and impact driven foundation ideate and evolve their business models and how we can adapt to make future commercialisation programmes more effective for early stage social entrepreneurs.

The ASAP mission is to equip entrepreneurs with socially impactful businesses with the tools to effectively commercialise and grow their ventures.

Running this accelerator afforded unique insights into how social entrepreneurs are commercialising at the earliest stages. Social businesses require a differentiated and creative approach to business model development from the outset.

This report draws on primary data and interviews from the accelerator cohort as well as later stage social entrepreneurs to understand challenges and opportunities specific to social business models and how those models evolve over time. Three primary archetypes were used to segment businesses based on where they currently create competitive advantage:-

  • Technology and Data
  • Operational Model
  • Customer and Product Innovation

These archetypes were also used to structure preliminary research findings and recommend future focused interventions to better support commercialisation and growth of early-stage social startups. The report is intended for university leaders who are developing programmes for commercialising social science rooted ventures.

Key sections of the report include:-

  • The ASAP social entrepreneur profile and programme
  • Research methodology and approach
  • Early-stage commercialisation challenges and opportunities
  • Social business model innovation case studies
  • Recommendations for future early-stage social startup support

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