Courses, videos, and articles to build a better application

Social impact-driven entrepreneurship 

From Acumen Academy, the world’s school for social change

The following courses are especially relevant and serve as an excellent foundation.

Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
Social Impact Analysis
Lean Startup Principles Social Sector

From Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women

This 10-course collection, developed in partnership with Goldman Sachs and the University of Leeds, builds on the face-to-face business education program that has enabled over 10,000 women to experience immediate and sustained business growth.


Value Proposition

To refine your value proposition, try to leverage the Value Proposition Canvas developed by Dr. Alexander Osterwalder. The Value Proposition Canvas is a tool, which can help ensure that a product or service is positioned around what the customer values and needs. This framework helps evaluate product-market fit.

If you are unfamiliar with the framework, try out the following resources:
- The following 3 mins video gives you a quick rundown: Introduction to Value Proposition Canvas
- The following instructional guide provides step by step details: The Value Proposition Canvas Instruction Manual


The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030.

IRIS+ Impact Themes & Metrics

IRIS+ is the generally accepted impact accounting system that leading impact investors use to measure, manage, and optimize their impact. Proper use of the IRIS+ system ensures a minimum level of consistency in a users’ impact claims and performance, which makes it easier for investors to analyze and extract useful information for decision making. Use of IRIS+ also facilitates the comparison of impact information.

To learn more about IRIS + Impact Themes & Metrics, please visit the IRIS+ site.


To review your business model, we suggest using the framework developed by Dr. Alexander Osterwalder, the Business Model Canvas. It is a tool that can help you map out the different components of your business systematically and understand the interactions between them.

If you are unfamiliar with the framework, try out the following resources:
- The following 3 mins video gives you a quick overview: Business Model Canvas Explained.
- The following instructional guide provides step-by-step details: The Business Model Canvas Instruction Manual.


To evaluate your scaling strategy critically, we suggest you leverage the PATRI framework, developed by Ashoka Globalizer Team, authored by Rizwan Tayabali.1 The PATRI framework is a step-by-step guide for social entrepreneurs on the journey to scale.

If you are unfamiliar with the framework, try out the following resources:
- The following 20 mins video gives you an overview by Rizwan: Scaling Impact.
- This is the full paper detailing the framework: PATRI A Framework for Scaling Impact.


Building a Board

Take a look at “Don’t give away your board seat,” for a great briefing on board of directors versus advisors, and how to leverage both effectively.

For more details around how to build an effective board, check out the Primer for Building an Effective Board by the Kauffman Foundation.

Building the founding team is critical, as your business will need different skill sets for success. The following post discusses the key to building great founding teams. At the early stage of your business, it is also important to realize you will need team members that are beyond the traditional job title. This article on hiring discusses some of the most salient points in why recruiting and managing teams can be one of the biggest challenges at the early stages of a startup - specifically when you are still validating business models and pivoting products.

Cap Table

One of the most critical cap table issue to keep in mind as a female founder is the Gap Table. The Gap Table refers to the fact that women are significantly underrepresented in equity ownership. The following article #TheGapTable gives you an overview by #Angels (a group of ex-Twitter women executives, who banded together to encourage greater diversity with their investments)

As suggested by #Angels, “You control your cap table, who gets shares, and how many. The people you bring in early on, both investors and team members, will be among the largest shareholders in the company. Prioritize diversity from day one. Ask your investors for introductions to women and underrepresented minority co-investors and early hires.”


A Vision Statement is the north star of an organization. It defines why your organization exists and its purpose. It explains the state of the world or community as a result of your company achieving its mission. A great framework for thinking about the “why” is the Golden Circle by Simon Sineck. If you are unfamiliar with the framework, the following 5 mins video gives you an overview by Simon: The Golden Circle.


Networks for women impact entrepreneurs around the world


Impact Hub is the world's largest network focused on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. 

The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship seeks to accelerate entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing problems by uniting social entrepreneurs with essential partners. 

Ashoka builds and cultivates a community of change leaders who see that the world now requires everyone to be a changemaker.

SOCAP convenes impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and organisations dedicated to catalysing world change through market-based solutions.

makesense inspires and empowers citizens, entrepreneurs, and organisations to build an inclusive and sustainable society together.

Zebras Unite is a founder-created and founder-led movement calling for a more ethical and inclusive movement to counter existing startup and venture capital culture.

Unreasonable Group backs entrepreneurs positioned to bend history in the right direction.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a community of the world's leading social innovators transforming society for the better for all. 

SheEO is a global community of radically generous women supporting women-led ventures working on the World’s To Do List.


Lionesses of Africa is a global community working to advance Africa’s women entrepreneurs, by building and delivering entrepreneur development programmes, mentoring programmes, business tools, digital media channels, community platforms, networking events and information resources.


As a catalyst and architect for the social innovation ecosystem in China, the Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation accelerates the rapid development of innovative social enterprises through impact-driven investments to facilitate their potential for large-scale social impact. 

China Social Enterprise and Investment Forum (CSEIF)'s mission is to establish a supportive ecosystem to promote the development of social enterprise and impact investment sector in China. 

Root Impact is building an Impact Ecosystem in South Korea by providing a Changemaker-friendly environment including co-working space HEYGROUND, co-living house D-well as well as learning opportunities like Impact Basecamp and Impact Career series.

Mistletoe Japan is a collective impact community gathering entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, and visionaries who aim to solve pressing global challenges.


Paris Pionnières is the first women incubator in innovative services BtoB &BtoC in France.

The National Female Entrepreneurs Agency (Die bundesweite gründerinnenagentur - bga) is the first and only country-wide information and service centre promoting female entrepreneurship in Germany.

The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE) is open to women who own or control a company whatever its size. BAWE provides excellent opportunities for social and business networking.

Prowess is the UK association of organisations and individuals who support women to start and grow businesses. Prowess has over 250 members who support 100,000 women in business each year.

North America

National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO®) is the voice of America's 10.6 million women-owned businesses and since 1975 has helped women evolve their businesses by sharing resources and providing a single voice to shape economic and public policy.

Ladies Who Launch provides content and community to help women start and expand their businesses and creative ventures. Through their events, e-mail newsletter, website and in-person Incubator programs Ladies Who Launch provides a venue for motivated women to exchange products and services, ideas, and strategic relationships.

All Raise is on a mission to accelerate the success of female founders and funders to build a more prosperous, equitable future. 

The Female Founder Collective is a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. 

Middle East & North Africa

WeMENA empowers and equips women entrepreneurs to solve the future's most difficult problems. 

South Asia & Oceania

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) is a network based in Singapore committed to building a vibrant and high impact social investment community across Asia.

The Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) aims to develop the social enterprise sector in Singapore by providing advisory services, programmes, training and resources. 

Facts & Figures

Facts and figures on female entrepreneurship worldwide.


2014 Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Babson College and London Business School
Download the PDF document


The GEDI Female Entrepreneurship Index
The GEDI (Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute) measures the development of high potential female entrepreneurship worldwide.
Download the report


Overcoming the Gender Gap : Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers
A study by the Erwing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Read the study


2015 Africa Gender Equality Index
It the only index that provides evidence on gender equality for 52 of Africa’s 54 countries and was designed not just to measure gender inequality, but to promote development.
Read the report


Doing Business 2015: Sub-Saharan Africa
Doing Business sheds light on how easy or difficult it is for a local entrepreneur to open and run a small to medium-size business in Sub-Saharan Africa when complying with relevant regulations.
Read the report

Asia & the Pacific

Doing Business 2015: South Asia
Doing Business sheds light on how easy or difficult it is for a local entrepreneur to open and run a small to medium-size business in South-Asia when complying with relevant regulations.
Read the report


Jobs, Gender and Small Enterprises in Bangladesh
International Labour Organisation (ILO), 2001
Read the report


Women entrepreneurs in India: Problems, Motivations and Success Factors
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, University of Regina, Canada, 2001
Read the report


Statistical data on Women entrepreneurs in Europe
In 2014, the European Commission published a study on statistical data on women entrepreneurs in Europe
Read the study


Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan
The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan is the European Commission's answer to challenges brought by the economic crisis. It is a blueprint for action to unleash Europe's entrepreneurial potential, remove existing obstacles and revolutionize the culture of entrepreneurship in the EU.
Read the report


Women’s Entrepreneuship : Closing the Gender Gap in Access to Financial and Other Services in Social Entrepreneurship
The main aims of the study include identifying differences in rates of entrepreneurial activity between men and women as well as the barriers, which might explain the differences.
Read the report

Latin America & the Caribbean

Unlocking the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Carribean
The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze high-growth female entrepreneurs and promote their participation in the business world.
Read the report


Identifying the Obstacles to High-Impact Entrepreneurship in Latin America and the
This study uses the findings of the GEDI (Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index) and several case studies to a paint a picture of the current state of entrepreneurship in Latin America
Read the report

North America

The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report
This report commissioned by American Express OPEN is a investigation into the state of women-owned businesses in the United States.
Read the report


Exporting as a Means of Growth for Women-Owned Canadian SMEs
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, University of Regina, Canada, 2004
Read the report

Middle East & North Africa

Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (2004)
By surveying women business owners in Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, this report identifies key characteristics and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the region as well as recommendations for solving these challenges.
Read the report