Flywheel: the heavy wheel attached to a rotating shaft to smooth out delivery of power from a motor to a machine (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia).
“The Flywheel Effect:” when companies stay focused on their core business with time, energy and all team members pointing in the same direction. Like the flywheel in an engine, the continuous rotation begins to take on a life of its own.
: a social enterprise “hub,” perhaps the first of its kind in the country, to assist non-profits in generating income through social enterprise - work and products with social value.
Social enterprise is nothing new. We see it with every box of Girl Scout cookies we buy or YMCA we’ve joined. In Cincinnati, the Easter Seals Work Resource Center’s Building Value is deconstructing hundreds of buildings, selling used material and providing construction and retail work for many with employment barriers or disabilities. These are the success stories in social entrepreneurship, when an economic venture helps those in need, generates income and follows the mission of the non-profit organization overseeing it.
Flywheel plans to be a Cincinnati hub of information and innovation in assisting non-profits in their social entrepreneurship. Four diverse organizations formed this one-of-a-kind start-up for social enterprise: the Leadership Council for Human Services, the Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Miami University, and Centric Consulting. A professional team from each organization provides its own experience in business, academia and social enterprise to assist non-profits in both forming and growing economic ventures and fostering networking
partnerships among social enterprises.
“We’re actually a social enterprise ourselves,” says Suzanne Smith, Flywheel executive director. “We went through the same process that we would do for our clients.” A recent $40,000 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation will provide workshops for potential non-profit clients, organize a local chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance, and create an online directory for local social enterprise organizations, not only for non-profit networking but for people who want to support social enterprise services and products.
: about Flywheel and how it can teach, coach, and advise non-profits at key steps in the formation of social enterprises.
• Attend: one of Flywheel’s workshops – Social Enterprise 101 and 201 - to see if social enterprise is the right kind of activity for your non-profit.