Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is used to describe and develop business models for businesses or projects. While the method is designed for business development, it is also well suited for project development or social entrepreneurship. The template includes ‘building blocks’ that influence one another. The dynamic nature of the building blocks makes the method useful for business and project development.

Best used for


In the context of Digital Social Impact courses and learning activities

The students can use the business model canvas to not only think about their key activities to create social impact but also think further on what is required, what their resources are and so on. It might also show them potential ways to create sustainable models for their solution. 

Main Target Group

Lecturers and Students

Potential tools for digitising this activity

Whiteboard / Powerpoint / Word in a joint call or separately.

Step by Step - The Business Model Canvas Explained

1 Activities The key activities are the “most important things a company must do to make its business model work” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).  Students should ask these types of questions as they build the canvas:

  • What are the key activities that we are going to need to engage in to create our intended social impact?
  • Are there new activities or opportunities that we should consider?

2 The key resources are the “most important assets required to make a business model work” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).  Resources can be both tangible and intangible; human and technological; internal and external. Students should consider:

  • What are the key resources that are involved in creating value?
  • Do we need to seek new resources?


3 The key partnerships are “the network of suppliers and partners that make the business model work” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). Consider partnerships that may be internal as well as external, ask:

  • What are the key partnerships involved in solving this social problem at the moment?
  • What new partnerships might we consider to expand or improve?



4 The Customer Segment “defines the different groups of people or organizations an enterprise aims to reach and serve” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).  Consider:

  • Who will directly benefit from our social impact project/efforts?
  • Who else might we consider?



5 The customer relationship “describes the types of relationships a company establishes with specific customer segments” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). As you think about relationships, also consider whether or not these relationships are personal, automated, or could be fostered in different ways.

  • What type of relationship do we have with each of our users?
  • How can we create sustainable relationships?
  • How can we build trust?



6 Channels are “how a company communicates with and reaches its customer segments to deliver a value proposition” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).

  • What channels are used to deliver the value?
  • Are there new ways to reach our users?


7 “The cost structure describes all costs incurred to operate a business model” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).

  • What are the cost structures?
  • How can we reduce cost?

8 A revenue stream “represents the cash a company generates from each customer segment” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).

  • What are the revenue streams?
  • Do we need to build new revenue streams?

9 The value propositions are “the bundle of products and services that create value for a specific customer segment” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).

  • What is it about our project/solution that sets it apart from other initiatives?
  • Where might we expand?