Social Enterprise Cohort

The goal of the Social Enterprise Cohort program is to assist nonprofits in the successful launch of a social enterprise, with the long-term goal of building the sustainability of nonprofits to further their missions. The program is designed to address common challenges for developing a social enterprise and to foster learning that can be applied in the real world. The program combines developmental training, hands-on working sessions, and business plan support.

This Social Enterprise program is supported in part by the City of Minneapolis through the Business Technical Assistance Program.

Applications are due March 22

Applications are now closed.

    What Is Social Enterprise?

    “A social enterprise is an organization or initiative that marries the social mission of a nonprofit … with the market-driven approach of a business.” – Social Enterprise Alliance

    Nonprofits are becoming more entrepreneurial and are furthering their mission by developing social enterprises (or businesses) to generate earned revenue to add to their mix of revenue sources.

    What You'll Receive

    • Four half-day, cohort-based learning sessions that are complemented by working sessions and technical assistance to help nonprofits explore social enterprise
    • The sessions build on the components of a business plan, and participants work on their plans between sessions
    • The learning sessions cover the fundamentals of social enterprise and the sections of a business plan, including market analysis, competitive analysis, financial capacity, legal structures, business planning, and marketing


    An ideal candidate is from a nonprofit that:

    • Has already started to consider or explore social enterprise as a revenue option
    • Has an operating budget between $500,000 and $5,000,000
    • Is located in the Twin Cities metro area
    • Is a 501(c)3 nonprofit
    • Serves low-income communities of color, Native communities, or immigrant communities, or is focused on reducing poverty or on creating jobs
    • Is eager and interested in participating in, and contributing to, a cohort of organizations to explore and evaluate social enterprise together as peers and learning partners
    • Has a leadership team, board and staff ready and willing to invest the time and energy needed to explore social enterprise. Participants (2 from each organization) must include the ED/CEO and one additional staff or board person

    Dates & Deadlines

    • Application open: March 11 – March 22
    • Application deadline: March 22, 5 pm Central
    • Section process: March 25 – April 2
    • Notification of those selected to participate: By April 5
    • Cohort Sessions: 8:00 am – noon on:
      • May 15
      • June 12
      • July 10
      • August 14

    Details & Questions

    • Preference will be given to nonprofits that are exploring, but have not yet begun, a social enterprise. If there is additional capacity in the session, those nonprofits who are looking to expand or optimize an existing social enterprise will be considered
    • Training sessions will be held at Propel Nonprofits, 1 SE Main Street, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414


    Contact Glyn Northington at