From the inner city streets of Detroit to the African plains, social entrepreneurs make their living by making life better for someone else. It counts as a trend that is taking root in various spots around the world. Social entrepreneurs start businesses that promote volunteerism, fight poverty, and work to put an end to the AIDS/ HIV crisis.
The reason behind this recent phenomena is relatively straightforward. When you do good for others, you feel good. Take the socially-conscious; they feel better when purchasing products and services from companies that reflect a similar worldview and the same set of values. Take a look at what gives social entrepreneurialism its power around the world.
Social entrepreneurship is the use of start-up businesses, non-profit organizations alongside other individual entrepreneurs to create, fundraise, and put into action solutions to issues around the world stemming from the social and cultural to all things environmental. Social entrepreneurs goals blend profit with the ability to give back to society in a positive way.
Social entrepreneurship businesses span a variety of industries and sectors; offering a multitude of services from providing educational programs for inner-city schools in our country or offering microloan opportunities to small business owners in African nations. Business owners who strive to work inside this model purposely seek out underrepresented communities from every corner of the earth for their business to serve. Community connectivity is part of the backbone of social entrepreneurship and can play a huge role in the regions of the world that these businesses choose to set down roots. Creating a business that is needed within the community and that strives to utilize the assets and the talents of the local people they have come to serve is also a foundational goal for most of these startups and individual entrepreneurs. These business owners approach their endeavors from a holistic point-of-view and work diligently to make sure every initiative put in place in these communities will create positive impact well into the future.
THE MOTIVATORS OF THE SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
The reasons one may choose to forego the opportunity to create a traditional for-profit business and opt for a career that follows a social entrepreneurship model are varied. Above all, these people choose, first and foremost, to look for work that adds meaning to the lives of others who are in need and which simultaneously creates a meaningful and successful experience for themselves.
However, these business owners also look to the marketplace to inspire and motivate themselves and their ideas. More and more consumers choose products and services that reflect who they are, their views, and how they want to work in the world. The substantial and growing part of our society who refuse to eat foods that contain any unnatural hormones and will only shop at organic markets or support community gardens that teach people how to grow their food; this segment of society is an excellent example of the overall shift in consumer mindset. Another great motivator for the social entrepreneur is the concern for child labor and the landscape of fundamental human right’s violations that occur on a daily basis in the unregulated sweatshops created and used by major corporations to build and craft their products. It has become almost mainstream to boycott shopping at a specific store or refuse to wear a particular clothing brand to protest these companies that use unfair and illegal work condition for their production. Social entrepreneurs take these motivators one step further and create businesses that align with their values, the values of their clientele and proactively work to combat these issues.
We must acknowledge that the advancement in technology over the past two decades is one of the driving forces behind these movements toward social change and the ability of the individual social entrepreneur to wade through any unfavorable circumstances and build businesses and organizations through which they can make the world a better place. These technologies also allow entrepreneurs to bypass some of the red tape they often run into with banks and other institutions.
While technology growth allows social entrepreneurs to work around the clock at any time and from the location of their choice, this can act as a double-edged sword in many situations. Yes, the social entrepreneur can jet set around the world, be onsite as the work is happening, and scarcely be seen in the office or bound to their desk in order to complete their work, rest assured that anywhere they may roam they are tied, lock and key, with their nose forever in their smartphone.
BECOMING A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
The path to developing a business with a social conscience is not necessarily a straight one, though it can be simple for those who know what issues they want to address and have the clarity of action to make it so. Occasionally, social entrepreneurs know that they want to create something impactful but are not sure what to pursue or how to pursue it. In these instances, it is only a matter of connecting with a specific and unique underprivileged community in a profoundly personal way that will set these entrepreneurs on the path to discovering the business they were meant to create. Another smart way for aspiring social entrepreneurs to identify and pinpoint the cause for which they wish to work would be in finding an organization or cause that already exists (that you feel a pull toward or you believe in their mission) and aligning with that organization. Working with the right organization will allow you to stay in the world, continue to do good work for others, but gives them time to find their real passion and to develop the skills that it will take to run a business of their own in the future.
If there were ever a business initiative that ought to spread throughout the world, social entrepreneurship would be an exceptional candidate. By creating businesses that solve or help to minimize some of the world’s most pressing social and cultural problems, social entrepreneurs are making the world a more inclusive, or at least, a more bearable place to live for so many people inhabiting underserved countries. Although Millennials are forging new territories through their work all over the world, the social entrepreneurship is being adopted by the socially conscious of every age and generation creating a bridge that allows people of all ages, from all nations and all walks of life to join together to promote change for the better through their chosen social cause.
Simply put, people who are interested in creating a socially-minded business need not look any further than into the deep wells of passion that lay hidden inside them. There, you will awaken your social entrepreneur