Win $1 Million to Fund Your Business Using the Social Entrepreneur's Playbook

In their 2013 book, The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook, two Africans describe a proven skill set that covers every element of a business model. Using the course of action taught in the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook and your Entrepreneurship 101 blog can help you win part of the $1 million African Entrepreneurship Award to fund your business.

Ian C. MacMillan, a Wharton professor and James D. Thompson, the director of the Wharton Social Entrepreneurship Program bring a combined 26 years of experience in social entrepreneurship in the United States and Africa.  The African Entrepreneurship Award recognizes the value of MacMillan and Thompson’s research in entrepreneurship and based the Award’s Round questions on the Part One “Pressure Test” themes in the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

How can you use this book to be better prepared for your journey? Keep reading to discover how the Award round questions are based on the Pressure Test theme and how you can better develop your business proposal by accessing the free resources and the ebook version of the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

For more information or to get your copy of the book, visit the Wharton Digital Press

Ian“Our work has proved that it is possible to launch a successful enterprise by taking small steps, focusing on discovery versus outcomes, and being constantly vigilant for the unexpected.”

How do you answer Round 1 questions using the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook?

In Chapter 1, MacMillan and Thompson lay a foundation for entrepreneurs as you begin thinking about your business idea. They write, “One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is to charge in with inadequate understanding both of the problem they want to address and of the practicability of the solution they have in mind.”
Drawing from this inspiration, all entrepreneurs in the African Entrepreneurship Award first answer questions about the problem you are trying to solve in your region.

In Chapter 2, MacMillan and Thompson encourage entrepreneurs to identify measures for both social impact and revenue. They say that specifying the unit of social impact forces you to think about how you are going to rate your performance and measure it.
Round 1 questions in the African Entrepreneurship Award ask entrepreneurs to state how they will measure the success of their business idea as pertains to social impact.

In Chapter 3, the authors of the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook recommend that entrepreneurs define and segment your target population. The authors suggest creating a list of attractiveness features, explaining why your business meets the needs of your beneficiaries. Your beneficiary population is unlikely to be completely alike. Targeted segmentation of the population is critical for increasing the chance of early traction to your product or service. The idea is to think of a subset of your beneficiaries with whom you hope to gain as rapid an acceptance as possible at minimal cost.
Round 1 questions parallel this theme, asking entrepreneurs to define their target customers in detail.

In Chapter 4, the authors stress the need to understand the beneficiary experience. MacMillan and Thompson explain that entrepreneurs often mistakenly “have a product rather than a beneficiary (or customer) orientation.” Before rolling out a product, you must first understand how your customers will experience the proposed solution that the entrepreneur offers.
Analyzing the customer experience is one of the final step in Round 1.♦

How do you answer Round 2 questions using the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook?

In Chapter 5 of the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook, the authors argue the next logical step is to better understand how your product is best poised to succeed. MacMillan and Thompson encourage all entrepreneurs to ask “What is the most competitive alternative already out there? That is, who currently offers the best alternative approach to the problem?”
MacMillan and Thompson’s book follows these stops logically through with practical examples from Africa. The African Entrepreneurship Award includes a question about competitive analysis in Round 2.

In Chapter 6, entrepreneurs begin to think about their business on a practical level, as it will manifest on the market. The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook encourages entrepreneurs to develop a deliverables table to outline all the capabilities to have in place so that the benefit can be delivered.
At this stage in the journey, you should be well on your way to a complete business proposal. In the African Entrepreneurship Award, entrepreneurs address operations realities in Round 3, ensuring that your deliverables and capabilities are in alignment.♦

How do you answer Round 3 questions using the Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook?

In Chapter 7, the authors discuss the very real need to address the inevitable sociopolitics of each entrepreneur’s context. Each country has unique challenges that must be addressed. MacMillan and Thompson recommend a three-step approach. 1) identify stakeholders; 2) categorize your stakeholders: allies, opponents, and needed indifferents; 3) develop a sociopolitical strategy. Entrepreneurs at this stage should not be functioning in a vacuum, as every business is part of a broader sociopolitical environment.
In Round 3 of the Award, successful entrepreneurs should be able clearly articulate the sociopolitical realities of your context with implications for your business.

In Chapter 8, the authors encourage entrepreneurs to develop a concept statement. MacMillan and Thompson describe the concept statement as the essence of the problem you wish to attack and the solution you intend to apply to ameliorate the problem. The statement integrates all components of the business as discussed so far. It is a valuable tool to have when approaching investors and other sources of financial support.
Themes from the Concept Statement are included in Round 3 Award questions.  The African Entrepreneurship Award strives to equip all entrepreneurs in their ability to attract future investors. The Concept Statement encourages them to prepare accordingly.♦


The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook is an essential tool for any entrepreneur wishing to launch and scale a meaningful and profitable business in Africa. The African Entrepreneurship Award thanks Ian C. MacMillan and James D. Thompson, a Presidential Jurist, for their book and its value in developing a successful Award that provides jobs and improves lives in Africa. For free resources about the book, and to hear more from the authors, click here.

Discover More