Impact Assessment for Startups

Our vision: Every [!] startup (for profit, non-profit, hybrid or other) considers sustainability impact during its (business model) development, whether for strategy decisions, its day to day operations or for an investor pitch.

What: This curriculum teaches an approach how startups can I. understand, II. measure, III. forecast and IV. communicate sustainability impact in a way that is suitable for startups. It shows how startups can dynamically incorporate sustainability considerations into their venture development, and provides resources that may be helpful during this process.

Who: The curriculum is primarily for those interested in the special circumstances of impact measurement for startups (from as early as the idea stage, to acceleration and growth). Many aspects and resources may as well be relevant for established social ventures, NGOs and those interested in impact identification and measurement.

Why: Measuring sustainability impact in a good quality is already very difficult. Startups additionally have the problems of limited time, financial and human resources and fast changing business models. This makes impact measurement an even greater challenge. It is exactly during this time however, when key decisions are being taken in the (business model) development. With this reasoning in mind it becomes clear, that providing resources to startups for impact measurement is very relevant. Just as you ask yourself "how will this decision impact my sales, or my customers?", you should be able to analyze "how will this decision impact your sustainability value added, i.e. the difference your venture makes compared to the status quo solution.

How: We first provide an introduction with 4 topics on the general background on impact measurement [Intro 1/4 - 4/4]. The curriculum will then focus on tools and methods centered around the concept of theory of change and impact identification [Step 1-4] and impact quantification [steps 5-8].


General background (1/4) What is "sustainability" and "sustainability impact"?

General background (2/4) Two main approaches in impact measurement

General background (3/4) Gain a basic understanding how impact is measured via a "theory of change"

General background (4/4) What will impact investors want to see if you apply for funding?

Step 1 [impact identification] Lean Impact Measurement for Startups. Welcome! See a 3:30 video and request access to your measurement spreadsheet [impact identification]

Step 2 [impact identification] Measure your value added only, i.e. the difference you make!

Step 3 [impact identification] Identify who your stakeholders/beneficiaries are and what changes they will suffer/benefit

Step 4 [impact identification] Verify your assumptions [and repeat step 2 and 3]

Step 5 [Impact Quantification] Select Indicators

Step 6 [Impact Quantification] Calculate your impact

Step 7 [Impact Quantification] Validate your impact [and optimize via steps 1 to 6]

Looking forward (1/3) Software for impact measurement

Looking forward (2/3) What are "reporting standards"?

Looking forward (3/3) What are sustainability ratings? Can I become rated in the future?