The Reasons Why We Can’t Ignore Social Entrepreneurship.
Social Entrepreneurship is quickly becoming the most powerful business model of the 21st century. It is an exciting process by which passionate and ambitious individuals build or transform a business to provide innovative solutions to social problems such as poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, clean air and water, and health care.
The world today is plagued by probably more problems than ever before in history. We face challenges like never before and the “to do” list is enormous and growing. Social entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon that operates in areas where traditional non-profit and government based support structures have not been successful.
Social Entrepreneurs are ordinary people who find innovative solutions to society’s social problems. They use traditional entrepreneurial models to bring social or community benefits. Social Entrepreneurs often have a personal experience of the need they are addressing and as such they are uniquely positioned to address some of our most pressing social challenges. They are passionate, driven and committed.
The recognition of Simon McKeon as 2011 Australian of the year has brought the term “Social Entrepreneur” in the national conversation. From the presidential campaign of Barack Obama to grassroots organisations, the concept of social entrepreneurship has received a lot of attention in recent times. It has been touted by many as the means of bringing real and lasting change to a broken and hurting world. Although Social Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneurship are relatively new terms, examples are found throughout history. They have always existed but in the past they were called visionaries, humanitarians, missionaries, philanthropist, reformers, saints or simply great leaders. Attention was paid to their courage, compassion and great vision but rarely to the practical aspects of their accomplishments. Children learn that Florence Nightingale cared for wounded soldiers but not that she built the first professional school for nurses and revolutionised the hospital system.
Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss and improving systems, inventing new approaches, and creating solutions to change society for the better. While a business entrepreneur might create entirely new industries, a social entrepreneur comes up with new solutions to social problems and then implements them.
But while they may read from a different bottom line, social and business entrepreneurs have a lot in common. They build something out of nothing. They are ambitious to achieve. They marshal resources – sometimes from the unlikeliest places – to meet their needs. They are constantly creative. And they are not afraid to make mistakes.
In fact, this new initiative has the world’s leading policy makers predicting that it will not only become the most purposeful, profitable platform of our time, but also a revolutionary change in thinking and planning for sustainable global improvement.
Social responsibility+Entrepreneurial strategies = Big Change.