A web platform to support social entrepreneurs worldwide.

Village Capital

Entrepreneurship / Social Enterprise / Accelerator


  • Web

Challenge

After six years, Village Capital had made 51 investments with 94% of investees still in business. They knew their next phase of growth had to employ technology if they were going to scale their impact to reach every social entrepreneur around the world. And they needed a socially-conscious technology partner to help guide the process.

Solution

Village Capital partnered with CauseLabs to iterate on a concept that would allow anyone in the world to run a Village Capital program. Through workshop, blueprint, and breakthrough phases, we launched Village Capital Communities in just six months. The platform provides dashboards, peer ranking, hypothesis testing, and program management tools in one delightful place.

Results

Village Capital partnered with CauseLabs to iterate on a concept that would allow anyone in the world to run a Village Capital program. Through workshop, blueprint, and breakthrough phases, we launched Village Capital Communities in just six months. The platform provides dashboards, peer ranking, hypothesis testing, and program management tools in one delightful place.

From Linear to Exponential Growth.

After six years, Village Capital had made 51 investments with 94% of investees still in business. They knew their next phase of growth had to employ technology if they were going to scale their impact to reach every social entrepreneur around the world. And they needed a socially-conscious technology partner to help guide the process.

In June 2015 Village Capital approached CauseLabs knowing that we specialized in socially-conscious innovation with specialty in creative technology solutions. With 10 programs completed in 2015, the operational weight was tremendous on both their staff and the entrepreneurs they were serving.

Their existing curriculum was taught using a variety of off-the-shelf tools, programs were managed with several different calendaring and file sharing tools, and entrepreneurs, mentors, and partners were organized by amazing staff who went above and beyond each 12-week cycle.

We had a strong hunch that a creative use of technology could not only ease their operational pain, but pave the way for a whole new growth trajectory. So in July our combined teams converged on Washington, D.C., to kickstart the solution as part of our four-week lab cycle.

From a cacophony of tools to a guided platform.

Thanks to our four-week lab cycle that kicked off the project, we were able to empathize first-hand with the different people involved in completing a program. We worked shoulder to shoulder with them on rapid prototypes, and then conducted exercises to prioritize the tools that would best solve for different user’s pain points while honoring the peer ranking experience that is the cornerstone of the program’s approach.

The lead designer, Jenna, then turned the visual concepts created in the lab cycle into robust Blueprints that we validated with real entrepreneurs in just seven weeks. Throughout the process we included as many Village Capital staff as possible, as it was the first time the organization had invested in custom design and development to this level.

Finally, our software engineers brought the Blueprints to life in record time thanks to the use of best practices and modern frameworks that will allow iterative releases and updates in a matter of minutes as the program scales.

For entrepreneurs the platform provides a dashboard for managing schedule and tasks, a highly visual ranking experience, and a hypothesis testing tool to track and discuss improvements across every area of a startup throughout the course of the program.

For program managers, the platform helps manage entrepreneurs in the cohort, guide the peer-ranking process, and keep schedule, mentors, and tasks efficiently organized.

A 400% growth outlook.

Prior to the platform’s release, Village Capital was wondering how it would help more entrepreneurs given how intensive it was to pull off 10 programs in 2015.

With the Village Capital Communities platform and program announced in October of 2015, they hope to execute over 40 programs worldwide--programs managed entirely by local leaders empowered by the platform along with coaching and support from Village Capital staff. What’s more, the platform is the start of a purpose-driven network of social entrepreneurs around the world.

That’s a planned increase of 400% growth in one year thanks to an initial six-month partnership with CauseLabs.

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