The Social Entrepreneur – Every Business Should Be Social
What do you think of when you hear the term entrepreneur? Well, for many of us, we think of the person who had a brilliant idea to develop a product cheaper and faster than already established businesses. Or we think of the person who was so brilliant with investing, real estate, or sales, that they opened their own business so they could do it their way, by their rules, and during their hours. We often hear stories from entrepreneurs about how they were sick of working for a micromanaging boss, couldn’t function in the traditional office environment, or were just down right miserable doing a job they hated.
The average lay- person sees the entrepreneur as a businessperson who walks around in a three-piece suit with the latest brief case as he or she discusses the latest business deal on the newest version of the iphone. Entrepreneurs seem to be these self-serving, self-seeking, and self-involved individuals who only care about profiting themselves. For the selfless humanitarian, who believes that it is their civic duty to address and try and correct the many social problems that exist, entrepreneurship may seem to be an unrealistic goal. In reality, entrepreneurship would allow them to use their creative ideas and innovative concepts to address social problems.
A new rise in entrepreneurship is the term social entrepreneurs. These are individuals who use their entrepreneurial skills to create businesses that address social problems. In essence it is applying business principles in order to find the most effective ways to carry out a social mission. Some contend that social entrepreneurs have always existed; the term just hadn’t been coined to describe them. Florence Nightingale, a nurse who used her profession to improve the conditions in hospitals is considered a social entrepreneur. Other historical figures such as: Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women’s rights; Dr. Mara Montessori, who developed new methods for teaching children; and Frederick Law Olmstead, who fought to change the view of cities and designed many urban parks such as Central Park; are all considered social entrepreneurs.
There has been an unwavering support for social entrepreneurs as many believe that the government and social organizations have been deficient in addressing and alleviating the social problems that plaque many Americans. Social entrepreneurs own corporations or businesses that are for profit. Some of these businesses are microenterprises. A microenterprise is designed to help people use their skills, by beginning projects, that will sustain them in self-employment. These enterprises provide participants, who are disadvantaged, with assistance in various areas, which include: training, technical assistance, and assisting with credit.
One of the concerns with social entrepreneurs is that there is no measure as to the effectiveness of the businesses they create. There are so many factors that explain the variance in social problems that it would be hard to pinpoint whether the social enterprise was actually adding social value or having a social impact. So if you are innovative, creative, and a desire to address social problems from a different aspect, then becoming a social entrepreneur may be a viable solution.
KNOW OF A SOCIAL BUSINESS? LET US KNOW SO WE CAN INTERVIEW THE BRAINS BEHIND THE OPERATION.
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