The Social Entrepreneurship Revolution…
There is little doubt that the internet has created a number of millionaires and opportunities for millions of entrepreneurs as well. However, not all entrepreneurs are interested in making money for themselves. Instead, there is a relatively new breed who want to change the world by rallying support around specific causes. They are known as social entrepreneurs and their numbers are growing by the day.
What is Social Entrepreneurship?
The differences are actually more subtle in terms of the primary purpose of entrepreneurship which is to earn money. Social entrepreneurs do earn money for themselves and to support their families. However, the actual differences are found in the very concept of their overall purpose.
A social entrepreneur is trying to create innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems instead of merely trying to make money. They usually have a specific cause in which they focus their efforts to get people to rally around their point of view. The success of their entrepreneurial efforts helps support their position and gain even more followers to what they are trying to accomplish.
This specific type of entrepreneur is putting the people and planet ahead of their profit margins for the good of everyone. They do this by creating products and services that benefit the people & planet and donate a percentage of their profits to other social entrepreneurship related causes that they deem worthy.
The History of Social Entrepreneurship
The social entrepreneur has actually been around longer than you might at first believe. In fact, the concept of social entrepreneurship goes back hundreds of years, although the modern practice has only recently become popular in today’s society.
Popular examples of social entrepreneurs can be cited starting with Florence Nightingale who founded the first school for nurses and developed many of their modern practices. Robert Owen who founded the influential cooperative movement and Vinoba Bhave, who created the Land Gift Movement in India. These early pioneers in the field of social entrepreneurs created major changes in their society and mostly from humble beginnings. However, their message and purpose was enough to sway millions of people and even change the course of human events.
One of the seminal works in this form of entrepreneurship came with the publication of “The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur” written by Charles Leadbeater. The very concept of social entrepreneurship however is rather difficult to limit as there are multiple ways that it can be defined. In a broad sense, it pertains to the impact on the social scene in terms of improving the human condition, saving the planet or other causes that can be pursued. Michael Young for example was a leading promoter of this particular form of entrepreneurship starting in the 1950s.
The first widespread use of social entrepreneurship occurred in the 1960s when the term first entered the mainstream market thanks to literature that promoted social change during those turbulent times. However, it remained a sub-culture of entrepreneurship for another two decades until it re-emerged in the 1980s when Bill Drayton along with Charles Leadbeater began actively promoting the concept through various means, including the establishment of “Ashoka: Innovations for the Public”.
By the 1990s, the concept expanded even further with the establishment of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and more than 60 other organizations around the world. Currently, these enterprises are growing and thanks to the internet they have found new means to make capital while helping to change the course of human society in their own way.
Social Entrepreneurs in the 21st Century
Today, you can find a myriad of groups and individuals who divide their time with a range of categories that they support with their entrepreneurial efforts. From community enterprises, social services, industry professionals, socially responsible groups and a combination of social and business enterprises, the social entrepreneur is now more active than ever in created change in their community.
Community: These types of enterprises are used to create capital to help empower itself so that they can deal with the issues facing their community in a more responsive manner. Money is power and having the ability to focus the efforts of the community is much easier from a position where capital is present.
Social Services: Here, the professionals of the industry work with a specific sector of society to expand opportunities for individuals and communities alike.
Socio-Economic: These generally include corporations that earn profits, but contribute to non-profit organizations in support of community efforts that promote positive change.
Industry Professionals: Successful individuals who offer their skills, leadership ability and influence to help change communities through their own expertise.
A good example of how one person uses social entrepreneurship to help change their community is Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank. Known as the “Father of Microcredit”, Yunus helped create a revolution thanks to his methods which have helped millions of people around the world in accessing small loans for their efforts. Yunus earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts.
The Future of Social Entrepreneurs
Although highly successful, there are inherent issues that are difficult for many social entrepreneurs to address. One of which is the natural expansion of their efforts to cover a wider community which dissipates the results.
In essence, it become far more difficult to make changes when more people become involved or are the focus of the efforts. This is natural because adding new people means adding new ideas which can change the focus or that the original intent simply does not have as big an impact once it has spread to more people.
However, a single social entrepreneur can make astounding changes in their community with their efforts. All that is needed is the focus, training and drive to make their dreams succeed. You can take action today by becoming a social entrepreneur and focusing your efforts on creating a better community for your friends and neighbors. You just need the knowledge to focus your efforts and the persistence to carry them through. You can find all the information needed to start your journey by Clicking Here.
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