Impact Starter Kit for every Entrepreneur: 3 Resources to get you started for your (Small) Business

Impact Development
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As an SME or startup founder, what is the language or term that you use to monitor, measure and manage the changes responsible for your business' growth and innovation, negative or positive? What are the tools you use or require to begin or double down on this process? Let's unpack!

The mention of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or their adoption, a Monitoring and Evaluation plan or its systems always appears to be scary and out of the ballpark thought for a startup or SME founder, a business operation that has succumbed to the illusion that it is only medium to large businesses that can afford the exercise of impact as well as its benefit(s) to the business.

Business impact (in monitoring and evaluation, and management ), is the business’ optimal opportunity to calculate and measure the business’ holistic growth development beyond financials, and including the accosted value of the company’s social, environmental, fiscal and economic activities. Through these calculations and measurements, ideas are able to be traded off as strategic decisions, and the best outcome about this business opportunity, is that it doesn’t demand big numbers, but specific interrogations about the change in your business. 

I’m an advocate for small businesses (especially through my pronounced #SageForSmallBiz partnership with Sage) getting their hands dirty when it comes to impact, and although an expensive exercise, there are a few actions and resources that you, as a startup or SME founder can adopt to get started while you wait to outsource a Monitoring and Evaluation Manager. This is what this Impact Starter Kit needs from you, and what it contains:

  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Impact Model Definition
  • GIIN Resources

Let’s begin:

1. Sustainable Development Goals

Adopted by all the United Nations (UN) Member States in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global partnership blueprint by countries (developed and developing), corporates and citizens for the consideration and prosperity of people and the planet. There are 17 SDGs that exist, with the aim of transforming the planet, namely:

  • SDG 1: No Poverty
  • SDG 2: Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4: Quality Education
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequality
  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 14: Life Below Water
  • SDG 15: Life on Land
  • SDG 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

The intention of a business adopting SDGs, is recognising the social ill or deprivation, at which the company is truly responsible for eradicating through its solution, and the theme of (value) impact that can be guided through their inputs, outputs and outcomes.


  1. Write down your company description.
  2. What problem is your solution solving for?
  3. What SDGs align to the problem that you are solving/the overall theme of your impact? You are able to select more than one
  4. What is the assumption that you believe about the impact have about your solutions?
  5. What are the company KPIs?
  6. What can you use the KPIs that you have measured for? i.e. Innovation, change that you can obtain from tracking the KPIs.

The objective of this exercise, is to not only identify the SDGs that speak to the overall theme of your impact, but to also to begin the process of mapping out the change and innovation that you would like activate and achieve in your company, and that, doesn’t require you to become a Fortune 500 company.

2. Impact Model Definition

So you are now clued up on the SDGs, as well as their ultimate benefit that they can serve your business, to challenge the current innovation of the business, the assumption of the impact (and value-add) created as well as the change and development desired to be derived. You know have defined and selected the company SDGs, what’s also important is to define the vehicle through which you are delivering this said impact. This, we term the impact delivery model. 

An impact delivery model is a business optimization tool positioned to assess current business operations to model mitigation and the quantified expected returns of the business. An impact delivery model investigates how the impact of enterprise will deliver its said impact. What we’ll focus on is a soft introduction to the importance of an impact delivery model, provide some examples of these models practices globally, as well as a worksheet with a guide of questions to help you consult how your business has been delivering its impact, how it can enhance the experience and process for stakeholders, and whether the process is an opportunity for a model upgrade. HOW does it benefit the business? 

Through RISK:

  • Relays the value of the input of the business, and helps to quantify their outputs and outcomes 
  • Informs the financial trajectory of projected business impact 
  • Supplies the business with information to (potentially) scale and be sustainable 
  • Knows, curates and holds the importance of business intelligence that will be, through the data infrastructure and management, presented to current and future stakeholders of the business


  1. What model do you use to deliver your impact?
  2. Get access to your copy of An Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for your Business ©, an e-book offering an introduction to M&E covering strategy, modelling, stakeholders and reporting



3. GIIN 

SDGs have been identified, the model of impact has been articulated, and now let’s down this impact starter kit with some GIIN. 

GIIN is an acronym for the Global Impact Investing Network, a global non-profit organisation that works with investors to to accelerate the scale and effectiveness of impact investing through:

  • Tools & Resources for Impact Measurement & Management (IMM)
  • Industry networks and events
  • Training programs for impact investors and fund managers
  • Industry research, market data, and publications:
  • Market leadership initiatives

Why does this matter in your impact starter kit for your small business or startup? These are the small next steps that you’ll need to take in your impact journey. Remember, one constant characteristic of business impact (in monitoring and evaluation, and management ) is that it is evolving, with new methods, terminology and practices introduced to the ecosystem every few days.

GIIN Is the community that you can lean on to learn from.


4. Conclusion

In the beginning of the article, I mentioned that the exercise of impact is the business’ optimal opportunity to calculate and measure the business’ holistic growth development beyond financials, and including the accosted value of the company’s social, environmental, fiscal and economic activities. Through this kit and its exercises and references, it’s an opportunity to kickstart your impact journey, and it is something that will evolve as you glean the fruits of this labour and your business rightfully grows.

Start small, start with the problem that you’re solving and the assumption of the impact you’re having on your direct and indirect stakeholders, and then challenge yourself with the various tools at your disposable like the SDGs, IRIS and An Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for your Business © to mention a few.

Continue your impact, and there’s no better time than today to start measuring ad managing it to truly, inclusively and radically innovate for people and the planet.


Vuyolwethu Dubese