Innovating & learning - social Enterprise scaling social impact
The Young Foundation commissioned Cruinn Associates in 2016 to conduct external evaluations of their 100 Day Challenge and Scaling Accelerator programmes in Northern Ireland. The main aim from the terms of reference was to understand how innovations with real potential had been helped in order for organisation’s projects to scale and achieve a greater social impact.
The key objectives of the evaluation were to find out what benefit the participants felt they gained from the Young Foundation’s support in terms of the extent to which participants felt the support has enabled them to develop more robust plans that will lead to their social
impact increasing in the near future; and how this enabled them to access, or be more ready to access additional income, funding or finance needed to grow their impact.
In addition, how the support facilitated their learning and scaling and where it might be improved or developed further; the extent to which the participants valued each element of the support and why e.g. open days, recruitment, individual workshops, coaching, mentoring, networking etc; participants overall satisfaction with the support; and to identify any gaps in support that they feel future programmes should incorporate.
The evaluation process included in-depth semi-structured interviews with representatives/teams from 11 projects on the 100 Days Challenge and 14 projects on Scaling Accelerator. This was followed-up with an online survey for Accelerator participants and use of secondary data from evaluation forms from the 100 Day Challenge workshops. A further 8 sample case studies were drafted from both programmes to highlight organisations and how the learning has shaped their projects in light of the above objectives.
100 Day Challenge – Key Findings:
- 11 projects finished the programme ensuring a 100% retention rate.
- 6 projects received mentoring and business assessment support from Mondragon Corporation.
- All participants valued all 3 workshops including Social Innovation, Pitching Practice and Social Design in order in terms of satisfaction levels.
- Pitching Practice was reported by 90% of participants as the best form of networking.
- 100% of programme participants reported workshop one to be pitched just right.
Scaling Accelerator – Key Findings:
- 14 projects finished the programme ensuring a 100% retention rate.
- High satisfaction rates were reported by programme participants on all 8 workshops.
- The top 3 programme workshops were Social Business Model Canvas; Demonstrating Social Value; and Understanding Service Design.
- Networking was valued as most significant benefit by 90% of Accelerator participants
- 100% of participant expectation and satisfaction levels achieved within programme.
The key benefits participants derived from the support of the Young Foundation across both the 100 Day Challenge and Scaling Accelerator programmes, included (in preferential order):
o Networking Opportunities
o Workshop Learning
o Peer Learning
o Access to Experts/Funders (including Young Foundation Networks)
o Mentoring/Coaching Support
o Programme Tools
o Thinking Time/Space
The interviews with each project representative(s) capture the essence of both programmes in terms of the managing programme and participant expectations; learning and knowledge acquired from facilitated workshops; the extent of supports made available and accessed;
the value and satisfaction of support elements to project needs; satisfaction with programme staff inputs; mentoring and coaching options availed of; access to experts, funders or networks. In addition, eight case studies provide further insight into a sample of specific projects from both the 100 Day Challenge and Scaling Accelerator and the learning and scaling from each to clarify projects' need; plan; impact; and ask.
100 Day Challenge Projects:
o The Assisted Living Centre
o The Neet Youth Forum
o The Resurgence Academy
o The Social Foundry
Scaling Accelerator Projects:
o The Clare Project
o The Refurb Project
o The Temps Desk
o The Turn Around Project
Evaluating 100 Day Challenge and Scaling Accelerator programme expectations were important as both were designed as much for learning as they are for funding. The programmes were very much more about investing the time and energy to engage in new, creative and innovative learning processes led by the Young Foundation and its partners in order to scale projects’ impact and reap future funding fruits.