Social Entrepreneurs are individuals who are willing to create positive changes in society through their innovative ideas and efforts. They run their business or organization to achieve the goals by helping society. Their motto to start a business venture is primarily to help the society and have no great intention of making personal profits. Their success is not always measured in terms of profit alone. A small change in the society out of their efforts is a success too. Social entrepreneurship is also referred to as altruistic entrepreneurship –which translates to selfless concern for the well-being of others.
There are many environmental and social problems out there and social entrepreneurs identify those problems and come up with innovative ways, and establish or adopt a business model around it. By presenting user-friendly and adaptable ideas to the local people, social entrepreneurs are generally looked up to as leaders or role models for driving philanthropic projects and bringing a large group of people to believe in their initiative. In the recent past, there have been many social entrepreneurs or philanthropists who have made immense success and proven to the public that not all needs of society are to be solved by the Government. Any person with a vision and ability to bring the change can do it.
Vinoba Bhave (India) was the leader and founder of the Land Gift Movement. He led to the redistribution of around 7,000,000 acres of land that later on helped the landless and untouchables of India.
Dr Maria Montessori (Italy) – The Montessori approach to early childhood education was developed by her.
Elon Musk, Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX cause Musk to become an explorer of social entrepreneurship in the modern era, as he pursued to create solutions that are accessible to renewable energy and push the bounds on space exploration for the human race.
Social entrepreneurship has similarities and distinction when compared to the standard definition of entrepreneurship
Social Impact and Inspiration: the origination of a social enterprise is an existing gap or problem that an individual identifies and has a solution for. Social entrepreneur’s works tackle the existing problem of society, they do not intend to create legacies and are an inspiration to society.
Make the World a Better Place: Social entrepreneurs are obsessed and extremely passionate about the initiative and work towards the goal against all odds, and can go to any extent to see that the society is problem-free. It is the social entrepreneurs who can bring drastic changes to culture, business and economy while they make a living out of it.
Generation of Social Capital: One of the most important values and powerful influences created by Social entrepreneurs is the equation established by social groups through interpersonal relationships, a shared sense of identity and a shared understanding in their network that helps people to ‘get by, accept and get ahead’ with changes.
How the Project Contributes to the Economy: Having known social entrepreneurship is for the society or environment, it also means there is or has been a demand for the product or service. Most entrepreneurial initiatives contribute to the economy, by creating job opportunities and wealth. The social enterprise thus establishing must aim at generating enough wealth that can contribute to society.
Responsibility Towards Society and Environment: The primary intention of social enterprise is to identify gaps in the environment and society that are not working efficiently and create a social value out of those. Aimed at bringing in a change and something new to solve a certain problem, these objectives can vary from industries health services, education, energy-saving, etc. A lot of corporate entities form a small trust to implement these objects in the form of Customer Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.
Effective Profit Utilization: As discussed, earlier social entrepreneurs are not aimed at making personal profits, their profits are often re-invested in the business to achieve the goal, personal profits are hence supervised and are limited. However, depending upon the status of the project, the entrepreneur can decide how much is to be reinvested to achieve the goal.
Efficiently Managed: Unlike the standard entrepreneurship framework, social entrepreneurship can involve a group of people working together with the same intention of bringing a change to society. Hence, the decision making, execution of tasks, etc. are all shared and are done with the active participation of all experts at different levels. Here, making use of participation efficiently is the key.
1. What is Social Entrepreneurship?
When any entrepreneurs, individuals or group develop and implement solutions to environmental and social issues, it is termed as social entrepreneurship. This type of concept applies to many organizations. Social entrepreneurship takes care of the development of the community and health care and also helps in the alleviation of poverty. Often they are associated with the civic or social sector of the non-governmental organizations. These sectors are also termed as the third sector.
2. What are the Challenges Faced in Social Entrepreneurship?
Since social entrepreneurship is new to the world, there are several challenges faced by them. Few of the challenges are listed below:
In every business set up, there come several times when the financial conditions are disturbed. During such instances, raising funds becomes very difficult. Most of the investors look forward to the short term investments that can benefit high. Sometimes, the businesses are impacted due to the reduced global economy. At this time, the social entrepreneurs face difficulty in raising funds.
A better business plan serves as the base for achieving higher milestones. Being a social entrepreneur, they lack in setting up better business plans. Due to this reason, the profit margin of the business gets reduced leading to low raise of funds.
Investing in the right business or people also plays its part.
Social entrepreneurs look to the world as an activist rather than a business person. Merging proper vision with the business is also a challenge social entrepreneurs need to face.