SSEO Case Study


Founded in London, UK in 1997, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) expanded to Ontario in 2011 offering transformational education programs and action-based learning for entrepreneurs.

In 2014, SSE Ontario (SSEO) was looking to develop a new business model and strategy for a new program aimed at “intrapreneurs” working within large corporations. The longer term goal was national expansion from Ontario across Canada.

Methodologies Used

Secondary Research 

  • Horizon scan and trends identification 
  • Competitor review and analysis 

Primary Research 

  • Facilitated workshops with client using Value Proposition Canvas and Business Model Canvas. 
  • Structured expert interviews to test and validate client assumptions. 
  • Semi-structured interviews with potential new customer segment.
  • Findings used to develop personas. 

Frameworks Used 

  • Doblin’s “Ten Types of Innovations” 
  • Value Proposition Canvas 
  • Business Model Canvas 
  • SCARF leadership model

Insights Gathered

SSEO was looking to enter into a saturated and competitive environment with many competing programs vying for similar segment of the market. SSEO had very little budget to compete with incumbents.

New markets and partnership opportunities were then identified.

Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is the underserved market with lots of untapped potential. In Canada, 31% of total expenditure of SME businesses is spent on innovation. This is equivalent to $4.8 billion per year. 

Interview based Personas

The following two personas were developed based on interviews with several stakeholders working at organizations fitting the SME profile.  


1) Aim program at underserved SME market with lots of customer potential (based on semi-structured interviews and customer personas).
2) Use an iterative approach and co-create program with strategic partners.
3) Start with a 3-month pilot and weekend challenges (more suitable to budget and organizational capacity).   

Using Format