SOON – Connecting for social potential

Inspiring, connecting and promoting – being part of projects and plans to create a better future, is at the heart of organization SOON. This social connector is based in Utrecht and committed to converting great ideas into workable plans. This means that they are connecting students to social organizations or social entrepreneurs. Also, they mediate between parties to make the best out of social projects that operate locally. At Rainbow Collection we were curious about their activities and how they contribute to creating a better tomorrow. Find out all about this week’s positive impact creator SOON…

Sustainable business cases

At SOON the owner aims at creating social and sustainable business cases with a strong focus on experience. That is why SOON carried great potential to be our next positive impact creator: because they believe in thinking differently. Not only in theory, but also – or mainly – in practice. The focus is on social entrepreneurship and creating a positive impact.

We focus on creating a positive impact, not because we should, but because it’s fun and makes sense.

As one of the initiators of SOON states, social entrepreneurs are tackling social issues by means of new business concepts. In that way they create social value, but with an entrepreneurial mindset. “There’s a proactive attitude in it, in contrast to some corporate responsibility initiatives. By what we do, we aim at changing the world for the better and make money while doing it: Why wouldn’t you?”.

Familiar ways of working

The way SOON is doing business doesn’t apply to business as usual for the biggest part. Most organizations are stuck in old ways of working, bounded by structure and experience. At SOON it gets noticed that young people seem born naturals in this field. There is a new generation coming, with a focus on changing the world! They want to throw away all can’ts and won’ts and replace them with fresh enthusiasm. That is why SOON works with young students and starters in almost all of its projects: “because they’re damn good at it!”.

As a social enterprise, SOON focuses on the here and now and is making the most out of current opportunities. “We don’t have plans for 5 years from now: it’s just that we want to get better at what we do, and look back on great progress”. They do have plans for the near future, but their development is most important for them. “As organization we shifted from being too structured, to a more flexible attitude and position. Where teams are formed based on the projects at hand. That way, the projects get managed by the people that are exactly right for the job”.

It’s just that we want to get better at what we do, and look back on great progress.
New projects and scaling up

Talking about their way of working and their methods, SOON states that they have undergone some great challenges. But it still needs some fine tuning. At the same time, they are working on the upscaling of some of the most successful projects, such as De Daktuin Utrecht. Besides, they are always developing new ones. “Right now we’re setting up a new network of young entrepreneurial people in something called the YEBU: Young Economic Board Utrecht. It’s meant to connect the more established ‘older’ people and organizations to the innovative young entrepreneurs, that are still more or less ‘under the radar’. We are very excited about this new project!”.

Besides the social impact of their projects, the impact SOON generates also arises from connecting young innovative entrepreneurship to older, experienced knowledge. By training, coaching and giving young people loads of responsibility, SOON aims at building them into young social entrepreneurs. In their work, SOON is looking for business cases that benefit society in different ways and create profit for their partners. In the collaboration with Cordaid, SOON even took this across the world!

We build business cases that benefit society in different ways and create a profit for our partners.

With Cordaid, they set up a chain of watershops in India, that had the opportunity to scale-up throughout the country and, thereby, creating a return on investment. Lastly, they spread the word through talks and workshops. “You’d be amazed by how many people respond with ‘Wow, I never realized you could do good ánd make money!’”.

In thinking about the future, SOON thinks that too many organizations focus too much on growth, just for the sake of growth. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respond to opportunities when they are there. The initiators stress they’d like to work with as many different persons as possible. Also, reflecting their own work is very important for them. “Hopefully, SOON can learn a lot from the people she’s surrounded with. Let’s say we aim for learning some great stuff on the way and look forward to the coming periods with full focus!”

Just like SOON we think that business can benefit society in different ways! Creating positive impact can go hand in hand with creating a profit – as long as you don’t lose sight of your purpose. Our positive impact creators are focused on upscaling their positive impact and aim high. Keep track of all impact creators via our social pages (Facebook, Instagram) and explore your own impact potential!