Social Enterprise Business Models in Sport

How can you mix business with social change? More and more NGOs are turning to creative solutions in funding their projects.

The subject of fundraising is always a top priority for NGOs and non-profit organisations. The income generated through fundraising fuels the engine so organisations can deliver their impactful programmes in the field. And while many people debate the effectiveness of the various strategies and tactics to raise money through donors and supporters, what I’m most encouraged by are the innovative “social enterprise” businesses emerging in the sport for development sector that provide organisations with a viable revenue stream.

There are many definitions, but in its simplest form a social enterprise uses business strategies and revenue models to support a social mission. Social enterprises are businesses - they offer goods and services to consumers, and then use the revenue created to support their mission.  

There are some great examples of social enterprises within the sports industry, several of which were born from within sport for development NGOs and non-profits:  

  • One World Play Project sells their indestructible soccer balls
  • Senda produces a fair-trade line of sports balls and uses proceeds to support non-profit soccer organisations
  • Janji makes running apparel that supports global relief projects
  • World Bicycle Relief sells Buffalo Bicycles, trains bike mechanics and operates bike repair facilities
  • Love.Futbol works with corporate partners to build soccer pitches for communities in need.
  • The recently launched 3rd Half from streetfootballworld brings the concept of “voluntourism” to sport, with soccer themed trips featuring unique destinations, local game experiences and social impact projects
  • And I’ve been a long-time fan of Kick4Life’s unique soccer facilities in Lesotho, a great example of an NGO using its assets to generate revenue and create a sustainable stream of income

Take a look within your organisation. Do you have a product or service that could be developed into a viable business? If it brought in even 20% of your operating budget, isn’t that one less grant application you have to write? Or one less fundraising campaign you have to manage?  

Just to be clear, social enterprise isn’t a magic wand for revenue, and it’s not ideal for every NGO or non-profit. It takes a committed organisation – and a committed board – to approach this as a business; there is risk involved, possibly upfront capital expenditures and a need for trained staff that understand how to manage a business. But for organisations that are ready, the development of a social enterprise can help take the pressure off year-round fundraising and start them on the path to becoming a self-sufficient operation.  

Howard K. Brodwin is the founder of Sport and Social Change.

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Learning From The Best

SEA-LA's own board member Holly Mosher will be interviewed live on by Devin Thorpe about her film on arguably the greatest social entrepreneur on the planet, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus.


Filmmaker Holly Mosher is a remarkable social entrepreneur herself, focusing her lens on a variety of social issues. Recently, I saw her film about arguably the greatest social entrepreneur on the planet, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus. I saw the film, Bonsai People, and met her at the 2015 Parliament of World Religions held in Salt Lake City.

The film title comes from Yunus’s observation that people who live in poverty are not deficient people, but like a bonsai tree, they are planted in confining circumstances that prevent them from reaching their potential.

Mosher explains, “When millions of people were starving from the famine in Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus was inspired to try to do something to help. What he ended up creating was a microcredit program that enabled people to start their own income generating activities and get on their feet. But while working with the poorest of the poor, he saw that just like they lack access to financial services they also lack access to so many things we all take for granted: education, healthcare, nutrition, alternative energy, technology, etc. So he’s gone on to create 60+ social businesses all aimed at helping the poor.”

READ AND WATCH - The live interview will be 10/29 10am PST on


consulting and advising social enterprises

Two Sustainable Business Consultants Rapping About Social Enterprise

Listen to SEA National Board member, Cecily Jackson-Zapata (B-Corp law firm Sustainable Law Group) talk about the business of consulting and advising social enterprise businesses.


Social Enterprise Food Truck

Some of you remember our end of the year party at 3 Worlds Cafe, which was the cafe that local LA foodie favorite and social entrepreneur Roy Choi was behind.  Now, they are about to launch their food truck for social change!
Listen and watch:

Banks Get Credit for Evictions...

I wanted to share this interesting article.

Banks Get Credit for Helping the Poor — By Financing Their Evictions?

By David Dayen

In 1977, Congress wanted to make sure commercial banks fulfilled their commitment to serve all communities in America, regardless of income level. “A public charter conveys numerous economic benefits,” said William Proxmire, then head of the Senate Banking Committee, “and in return it is legitimate for public policy and regulatory practice to require some public purpose.”

Under the Community Reinvestment Act, banks are periodically examined for how well they provide lending and investment to low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods where they take deposits. Since its enactment, 97 percent of all banks examined have received a “Satisfactory” or “Outstanding” grade, according to the Congressional Research Service.

And yet lending and even basic financial services remain hard to come by for the poor. In the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s most recent survey, over one in four American households have either little or no access to traditional banking. Fully 93 percent of all bank branch closures from 2008-2013 happened in low-income neighborhoods, which has dramatic effects on the availability of small business loans. Poor people without access to credit turn to predatory payday lenders that trap them in a cycle of debt.

Read more

Welcome to SEA 2.0!

At SEA Summit 15 we were excited to learn that we are launching SEA 2.0!



We have a new membership structure. 


Slow Money SoCal Links To Local Investment

Slow Money SoCal Links to Local Investment

by Michelle Greenwood

So, you’re an entrepreneur. 

You’re motivated by your mission and the vision for your phenomenally inspiring social enterprise – those of us around you, we’re inspired too!

But you’re frustrated by a lack of funds.

You need licensing fees, maybe some equipment. You’re stymied by the cost for materials and inventory. A web page would be nice, business cards, stationary – all the things you need to run any business, the fact yours is socially responsible and impactful doesn’t make it any less a requirement. But you’re locked into cash flow and credit cards. You’re dolling out the financial resources (often just in time!) to make your business run.

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Finding Empathy Through Play

Finding Empathy Through Play with Twenty-One Toys

From SEE Change Magazine by Julia Bugiel SEAToy.jpg

At the heart of any great departure from the beaten path is an awareness that the prevailing modes of thought fail to account for your understanding of the world. For Ilana Ben-Ari, the Toronto-based social entrepreneur and founder of Twenty One Toys, the choice to strike out on her own came from the frustration she felt when faced with this dilemma. “It was hard for me to even find an organization looking at design and social innovation,” she said. “When I realized that maybe I should start my own company, a lot of that motivation came from frustration with my education; there’s a disconnect between what we’re focusing on in education and what we really need.”


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Social Enterprise Showcase

The UCLA Social Enterprise Venture Competition and Showcase is this Friday. If you can come, go to for location details. If you can't we will be live streaming at starting at 3:00.

Moving Money from Wall Street to Main Street


SEA-LA recognizes that funding to launch or expand a social enterprise is often a challenge. That’s why we were excited when Kiva began its’ Kiva Zip program. The Kiva Zip program is strongly focused on creating economic opportunity for individuals and business that are socially and environmentally conscious. This is a crowd funding website, so borrowers are funded by individual lenders around the world.  Although the program is still young, Kiva Zip has supported @600 socially responsible businesses across the country in the past 18 months.

Anyone can help by lending as little as $5.00 to the entrepreneur(s) of your choice. These loans are at a 0% interest rate with no fees. If you are not already a lender, you can start now by supporting one of our local social entrepreneurs:

Us Too Gymnastics, in Lake Forest, is a center for children with special needs, especially autism. Founded by Dena Lusardi,  this nonprofit social enterprise provides individualized programming and instruction for children and teens with special needs using the physical and mental developmental benefits of gymnastics. Now kids with special needs have the opportunity to be part of an extracurricular activity rather than be hurt or depressed because they are not accepted.

In 2012, Us Too added classes for “normal” kids. This enabled them to expand their impact and their earned income. Now “special” kids are often able to transition into a class with typical peers. The result is that they are busting at the seams and need funds to move into a bigger facility.  With the support of Kiva Zip lenders,  they can start having more than one class at a time and help kids with special needs thrive and be part of their community.

Click here to Support Dena -- She has 8 days left to raise $2700!

In 2015 Kiva Zip will begin the process of integrating into its parent organization Kiva. Integration will enable Kiva Zip to take advantage of Kiva’s 1.4 million lenders, lending teams, gift cards, and corporate giving thus increasing capacity to support more entrepreneurs.

LA Social Enterprises SEA Building Blocks Become A Member


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