Social entrepreneurship is becoming more popular these days. Thanks to the efforts of countless individuals such as Muhammad Yunus, John Wood, Bill Drayton and Jeff Skoll among others. They are helping solve social problems not just by putting their money into the problem but by developing a system that ensures accountability and sustainability. These guys are called social entrepreneurs and they paved the way for hundreds of others like them who are intent on solving some of the most pressing issues around the world.
Social entrepreneurship, then means identifying a social problem and using the principles of entrepreneurship to establish an enterprise or a venture that would pave the way for social change. Businesses tend to measure their performance through profit and savings on operational costs. The social entrepreneur, on the other hand, measures performance success in terms of the social capital created. This usually comes in the form of social and environmental goals. While development work used to be the sole domain of volunteer workers and non-profit organizations, social entrepreneurship introduced a new way of doing things by joining the pursuit of social good with that of profit.
That last part is a bit misleading, however. There is no such thing as a “double bottom line”-that of social impact and profit. One should take precedence over the other. If profit is the bottom line of the company, then it only engages in corporate social responsibility and not social entrepreneurship. With the latter, the bottom line is social impact but the enterprise also seeks to be sustainable through the margin of profit it pursues.
Social entrepreneurship is not just about fund-raising for foundations or non-profit organizations. It has really integrated the pursuit of social good with the business structure that aims for sustainability. This form of development work also educates people about the importance of taking care of their own lives. It does not provide dole out assistance. But it empowers people by providing them with resources they need to establish their lives.
Marginalized people such as the poor ones, indigenous peoples, and those who belong to at-risk groups in the society need help. But what they do not need is the unthinking pity that most people give them. Instead of just giving them coins in the streets, they should be empowered to make something meaningful for their lives. Social entrepreneurship makes that possible.
If you want to become a social entrepreneur, you can become a world-changer.