You’ve done good; now how to scale up?

You have a good idea for your neighborhood or your town and actually get a project going to help get meals to senior citizens or grow food for the school or teach English to immigrants. You want to make sure the project is sustainable and maybe even can make it happen again in another neighborhood or in Milwaukee. Now what?

You need to scale up, something encountered by a growing number of non-profits and social entrepreneurs. How do you find people talented enough to continue your mission elsewhere? How do you find the money that will take? How do you know whether an idea that worked in one place will work in another and continue to function and have impact?

Those are the questions on the table Feb. 8 at a Twin Cities Solutions Forum at the Walker Art Center. The forum is sponsored by the global organization Ashoka and by InCommons and is split in two. An invitation-only session in the afternoon tackles those questions of scaling up in a hands-on advice conversation.

Solving problems in new ways is what Ashoka is trying to foster. The group has had a staff presence in the Twin Cities for a short while but you’ll likely hear more from it in the future.

“Ashoka has supported scaling innovations for more than 30 years, seeing as this is how we consider the way people can change the world,” says Kila Englebrook in Ashoka’s Washington, D.C., office.

The evening conversation will focus on two Ashoka fellows who have made a difference elsewhere.

It will be similar to one Ashoka and InCommons held a couple months ago.

This time the two people on stage will be Conchy Bretos, who has devised ways to make assisted living facilities available for people with lower incomes than those who usually can afford them, and Felipe Vergara, who has devised funds that invest in a poor student’s education, reaping payback when the student is later employed.

Both are people with powerful ideas who have dealt with the “scaling up” challenge.

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