Since I have the privilege of working daily in the SiG@MaRS advisory practice with clients who are social entrepreneurs, it’s exciting for me to join a team of pitch doctors to advise participants in the Good Deals: Pitch Clinic, which takes place at the Social Finance Forum on December 14th.

Being a social entrepreneur and trying to find the sweet spot between profit and social benefit is hard. On the one hand, you are consumed by the passion that drives the social mission, but you also need to have the business essentials: both the resources and a robust business model that outlines how to drive revenue growth from selling your product or service.

With your many stakeholders, you also need to be multilingual when it comes to effectively communicating who you are, what you do and why it is amazing. And you need to be concise and clear, demonstrating that you understand your venture.

To achieve clarity, it helps to practice in front of an impartial audience, hence the Pitch Clinic. The pitch format forces you to express the essential elements of your social venture in five minutes or less. Once you deliver your pitch, you’ll get 15 minutes of unvarnished advice from a small team of highly experienced entrepreneurs and investors–the pitch doctors. They’ll pick apart your business model until you feel like you’ve re-built it from the bottom up, except, hopefully, with better materials.

In this intimate setting, you’ll gain access to expertise rarely available to entrepreneurs:

  • The pitch doctors will help identify your strengths and address your weaknesses, all with the end goal of becoming deal-ready.
  • Their feedback will range from fine-tuning your pitch to identifying the type of investment that is right for you.
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to ask them about what you need to have ready prior to seeking investment or how to tell if an investor may be more trouble than they are worth.

At the end of the Pitch Clinic, the advisors will select the most high-potential ventures to make their pitch in front of the entire conference. Imagine having the opportunity to sell your business idea to a room full of potential customers, investors and like-minded entrepreneurs.

These Pitch Clinics are for social entrepreneurs involved in for-profit social purpose businesses, as well as non-profits, charities or co-operatives involved with a social enterprise or revenue-generating activity. No matter the stage of your venture, you need to have a clearly defined revenue model for your operations. For non-profits, that means you need to have sources of revenue beyond grants or donations.

You can sign up for a Pitch Clinic when you register for the conference. Note that you’ll need to submit an application form with details about your company, so that we may evaluate your fit for the Clinic and help maximize what you get out of it.

For more information, see the Good Deals: Pitch Clinic site.


Heather Crosbie

Heather is an advisor in the SiG@MaRS practice, where she helps entrepreneurs build successful social ventures that have lasting social or environmental impact. See more…