The Development Wheel draws on 45 years of experience to redefine the role of business in the building of healthy, self-reliant communities. It originates in a study of American community-based organizations (CBOs) in the 60s and 70s. It determined that three tasks had become integral to the operations of successful CBOs. To communities, in fact, the development of the CBOs into solid, competent institutions was just as important as the creation of businesses. The trick was to use achievement in the latter to "rachet up" performance in the former, and vice versa.
The Centre for Community Enterprise made these concepts of essential tasks, cumulative development, and institution building the basis for a tool that First Nations and others could use to guide economic development. This "Development Wheel" has now been adapted to help a wide range of agencies to develop social enterprise.
It defines six essential tasks: Assessing Readiness, Pre-Planning, Enterprise Development, Organizational Development, Community Participation and Strategic Networking, and Technical Assistance. The first two enable CBOs with little entrepreneurial experience to ensure that social enterprise is indeed a way for them to advance their mission and the community interest. The other four are interwoven in a 3-phase cycle that builds the base for social enterprise, selects the best opportunities for it, and then plans the enterprise in detail.