Key Resources

What are the most important assets required to make your business model work?

The Commercial Dimension

Key resources allow an enterprise to create and offer a value proposition, reach markets, maintain relationships, and earn revenues.  They can be physical (e.g., facilities, machines, systems), financial (e.g., cash, lines of credit, stock option pools), intellectual (e.g., brands, patents, databases), or human.  They can be owned or leased by the company or acquired from key partners.  

The Impact Dimension

Key resources drive your commercial model AND your impacts. For social enterprises, it is imperative to understand how critical it is to ensure access to the key resources needed to drive both the commercial business and the impact, and to plan ahead for how such resources can be developed and maintained.  If the resources are lacking, then your business bottom line and your impact will suffer as a result. 

Professor Sarah Soule explains the goal of the key resources block, and poses questions for you to consider as you think through strategic options for your venture.  She will discuss the example of Equal Opportunity Schools, a national nonprofit organization with both earned income and philanthropic support. (1:00) 

Design Prompts

  • What tangible or intangible items are necessary for your business or program to be successful?
  • Does your business or program require specialized talent, material, land, building, systems, technology, intellectual property, and/or machinery?
  • Which resources are your biggest costs and/or hardest to acquire?

For-profit example


Key resources:

  • Patents [c]
  • Technical expertise [c]
  • Manufacturing facilities [c]
  • Capital from investment funds & impact investors [b] 
  • d.light brand credibility for delivering impact [i]
  • Staff committed to mission [i]

d.light sells solar energy solutions to populations without electricity in 60+ nations. See project description and its Impact BMC

Nonprofit example

Equal Opportunity Schools

Key resources:

  • School & student data [b]
  • EOS tools to support students and teachers w/course access and success [b]
  • Analytical capacity & technical expertise of staff [b]
  • EOS brand credibility for delivering impact [b]

Equal Opportunity Schools helps minority and low-income high school students succeed in AP and IB courses. See project description and its Impact BMC

i = Impact dimensions,  c = Commercial dimensions,  b = Both dimensions 

Deep dive