Alberta Social Entrepreneurship Support System: Tools, Links & Coaching

Helping Social Enterprises Figure Out Their Key Issues

Introduction to TLC:

Note: You are on the A.S.E.S.S. TLC (Tools, Links & Coaching) page. This page is for social entrepreneurs who want help figuring out their key issues (what they are and/or what to do about them). If your organization feels that you have things figured out and need funding to help you get to the next level of your venture, check out the A.S.E.S.S. Funding page for details. Please remember, if at any time during the A.S.E.S.S. TLC process you would like to access A.S.E.S.S. funding you are free to do so. Likewise, anyone applying for funding is free to access the A.S.E.S.S. TLC resources as they see fit.

On this page:

  • The Key Issues Facing Social Entrepreneurs
  • Tools: The Worksheets
  • Coaching
  • Links: Connecting You to Other Resources

The Key Issues Facing Social Entrepreneurs:

Tools: The Worksheets

The A.S.E.S.S. worksheets condense the best expertise we could find to help you embrace the discipline of learning as quickly, cheaply and effectively as possible and navigating, in a step-by-step process, the key issues facing social entrepreneurs.

Please keep in mind that:

a) This process is meant for organizations that have settled on a social enterprise idea that they wish to explore further (i.e. it’s post-ideation). If you have a specific social idea these tools should be able to help you, whether you are at the early idea/concept stage, ready to launch, looking to grow or looking to scale (and everything in-between).

b) The Trico Foundation strongly believes social enterprises are most effective when they own their own journey – driving their experience in selecting what, if any, resources they choose to utilize. The A.S.E.S.S. worksheets are in a logical sequence, but organizations are also able to pick and choose which worksheets address the challenges they are currently facing.

1. The Blender

While blending a social mission with an entrepreneurial model can be powerful, it can be surprisingly tricky. The Blender helps you map how these aspects interact, identifying pressure points to keep an eye on as you move forward.

2. Finding Your ‘Early Adopter’ Worksheet

Why do so many ventures fail or sputter after they began with such promise – and eager customers? This worksheet introduces the idea of customer segments, and allows you to determine which specific customer group makes the most sense to approach as you develop your social enterprise.

3. Key Steps Worksheet

A stumbling block for many ventures is failing to understand all the things their customers, their beneficiaries (if they are different from your customers), and they themselves will need to do to make their social enterprise a success. This worksheet allows you to do a deep dive on all the key steps that are needed  in order to make your vision a reality.

4. Operating Costs & Core Numbers Worksheet

Another key stumbling block for ventures is getting nasty surprises about how much their venture will cost. This worksheet helps you zero in on what the numbers will really look like.

5. Testing Worksheet

While almost (almost!) everything else is fixable, nothing will slow your venture down or put it more at risk than your inability to identify your assumptions and test/ learn from them as efficiently and effectively as possible.  This worksheet takes you through a number of tools to determine what you need to know ASAP to move your venture forward and helps you outline low-risk tests that can get your venture moving towards your ultimate vision.



Coaching Principles


  • Coaching is helping you on your social enterprise journey (learn more about “owning your journey”). It is helping you resolve the struggles you have identified when it comes to building your organization’s capacity to use social entrepreneurship to close gaps in society;
  • Coaching is not telling you what you should be struggling with or what to do. Either of these would fall into ‘funder power dynamics’, something we are committed to eliminating. Once you identify the specific issue you want coaching on (we may help you through a series of questions to get from a general issue to a specific issue as we have found that issues are easier to grapple with when your focus is narrowed), we ask a series of questions that help you figure out the path to resolving that issue. As we said, coaching is asking questions, we do not give advice or tell you what to do.
  • Not sure which issue to request coaching on first? You may want to check out the above online worksheets or sign up for our newsletter to hear about upcoming workshops.

Coaching Process:


Should you be interested in being considered for coaching support, complete our coaching request form . Please note that this form allows us to screen organizations, as we must ensure that we only work with social enterprises that fit our mandate. Given the high volume of inquiries we get, we cannot respond to every request for coaching we receive.

Links: Connecting You to Other Resources