“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionised the fishing industry.’’ – Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka
The woes of the European debt crisis continue to impact on economies around the world especially in the developing world, bringing in its wake deep poverty, striking inequality among countries, scarcity of resources and lack of health care and education.
Basic needs of millions of people in non-industrialised countries remain unmet, mainly because these potential customers are unable to pay for products and services that would satisfy their needs.
It’s at times like these (and at this time of year) we need to spare a thought for those in need. It’s also time to ask how we use our entrepreneurial skills for profit and social good.
The King reports on Corporate Governance acknowledges that there is a move away from the single bottom line (that is, profit for shareholders) to a triple bottom line, which embraces the economic, environmental and social aspects of a company’s activities.
How is your business contributing to the society you live in?
The founder of the Grameen Bank in India once said if every business took on one person to mentor as an entrepreneur we will eradicate poverty. This is within your control; you can transfer your knowledge and skill by helping another small business to grow.
Provide financial assistance to social entrepreneurs who are committed to making a difference. If you have a budget for social responsibility, ensure you spend it well.
Who are social entrepreneurs?
Social entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs with a mission to make a positive impact on society.
This is different from other forms of entrepreneurship in that the former gives higher priority to promoting social values and development versus capturing economic value. But when pursuing their respective businesses, they follow the same creative and innovative approach.
The landscape of social entrepreneurship includes social purpose ventures and enterprising non profits. Regardless of profit orientation, social entrepreneurs identify opportunities to solve social problems — people and planet related problems.
Some of the more well-known social entrepreneurship projects include:
The Grameen Bank in India founded by professor Muhammad Yunus in 1976 to help women of Bangladesh out of poverty. It is a “for-profit’ organisation where the community is the major shareholder.
Victoria Hale founded the Institute for One World Health, a non-profit pharmaceutical company that develops safe, effective and affordable medicines for developing countries.
Jim Fruchterman, a Silicon Valley engineer, created Benetech to craft technological solutions to social needs, which ranges from literacy to human rights and landmine detection (Dees, 2007:24).
Aravind Eye Hospital, founded in 1976 by Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy, is an 11-bed eye clinic to address the enormous problem of cataract blindness in southern India. The objective of the eye hospital is to eliminate this needless and preventable blindness.
Join the group of social entrepreneurs by making a difference to the lives’ of people around us.
Email me at: Mariam@awakeningexcellence.co.za for coaching and business support. “Live your best life now.’