If you have identified an issue and are looking for the right opportunity to take your ideas to the center stage, social entrepreneurship may be useful. The changes required may come through eliminating the social issue or through a lifetime process, improving the circumstances for a better outcome in the future.
Social entrepreneurship focuses on societal issues to inspire social change through entrepreneurial efforts. The fundamental objective of any social entrepreneurship venture is to define one or more social problems and organize a plan to help address the problem.
On average, 24% of social enterprises are led by female leaders, as opposed to the 8.9% in mainstream business.
Conceptualizing solutions to address societal challenges
Generally, entrepreneurship or business is a venture to start or diversify a profitable idea by managing resources. On the other hand, social entrepreneurship is focused on creating social capital without measuring the monetary returns rather than the social impact of entrepreneurial activity.
A report by the British Council states that social enterprises in India have employed 19 people on average since 2010.
The entrepreneurs of this field are linked to non-profit sectors, charitable societies, welfare trusts, and organizations. However, that does not pose a limitation to profitability. Every entrepreneur still requires capital to continue their operations towards positive social change.
Along with social problems like environmental problems, human rights issues, child rights, waste disposal, women empowerment, entrepreneurs can be associated with non-government and non-profit organizations to raise funds through events and community outreach activities. An example would be the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that has been at the forefront of various social issues worldwide.
If you are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, social entrepreneurship may be your calling.
CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility is also a pivotal aspect of profitable corporations. That’s the way that large organizations can give back to the communities that helped them rise in the first place. Among the most sought-after social enterprises, education and skill development are on top of the list.
To identify a social issue, one must be invested in the commitment to provide an impactful solution. That’s because social entrepreneurship requires many people to come together and provide sustainable solutions that address major societal challenges.
Definition of social entrepreneurship
Today, more social entrepreneurs contribute to society in numerous ways that raise the standard of living by addressing issues that affect people’s lives. The founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, is also the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize for his venture in 2006.
His efforts have benefitted numerous people and a large section of society. Many actors and celebrities get involved with social entrepreneurship ventures by using their platforms to speak up for injustice, inequality, and social welfare.
Let’s explore some key factors that are pivotal to a social entrepreneurship venture. Identifying the scope of social ventures and related research can accelerate social entrepreneurship activities in academics and the world.
But, first, we must identify the social entrepreneur who recognizes an issue and rises to take action and create a positive impact.
Who is a social entrepreneur?
A social entrepreneur is driven by a mission to utilize entrepreneurial principles and strategies to deliver social value to the less privileged who lack resources or are affected by social, political, or economic problems. The entrepreneurial entity aims to become financially independent, self-sufficient, and sustainable to achieve the desired outcome for now and future generations.
Distinct factors of social entrepreneurship
To dive deeper into the social entrepreneurship principles, let’s explore 4 broad categories of such a venture.
Every establishment has a mission, but delivering social value to the underserved sections of society is a challenge that some entrepreneurs turn into a life mission.
53% of the social enterprises are engaged in skills development activities.
They are dedicated to acting through a unique combination of specific entrepreneurial characteristics that achieve a targeted problem to solve an underlying issue in society. Most social entrepreneurship ventures target one or a few issues to create an impact that improves the quality of life.
Openness, innovation & commitment
Social entrepreneurs act within organizations with a strong culture of openness and innovation, forming relations with like-minded people and working towards eradicating social injustice. More than 80% of social entrepreneurship ventures reinvest to achieve social or environmental goals.
Collaboration, awareness & resourcefulness
Social entrepreneurs act within financially independent organizational structures to maximize resourcefulness. The main objective is to remain self-sufficient and sustainable, to last longer than the issue at hand.
By blending profitable and social activities, they can achieve financial independence, reducing the need for donations or government fundings, focusing on creating more awareness of the social issues.
To increase the potential of delivering a higher social value, awareness is key. Additionally, the coming together of multiple socially entrepreneurial ventures can become a powerful strategy for a positive social impact. Today, in India, there are more than 2 million social enterprises. The number is only getting stronger.
Boundaries of Social Entrepreneurship
Compared to popular entrepreneurial activities, social entrepreneurship is often a talking point in the media, among public officials, and society. Citizens expect good things from a well-established social entrepreneur and thus support their cause.
They attract a lot of resources for growth and awareness. This is because social entrepreneurs establish an expansive network to highlight their mission and impact. Governments offer specialized subsidies and grants for social ventures.
However, the lack of consensus about the social entrepreneurship disciplines has often led to mistaken identities. Philanthropists, activists, environmentalists, and social practitioners are referred to as social entrepreneurs. By creating more awareness about socially conscious activities in academia can aid in the growth of social enterprises.
With the numerous opportunities to inspire social welfare, more organizations are stepping into the light with innovative and transformative ways to approach social issues. Social entrepreneurship goes beyond just socially responsible individuals but a spectrum of social change inspired by proactive action.
A survey by the British Council indicates that 57% of the social enterprises in India were registered between 2010 and 2015, of which private limited companies formed the highest proportion (71%).
If you are looking to start your social entrepreneurship venture, here are two business strategies to consider.
- Non-profit – A social enterprise with earned income strategies using a hybrid social, commercial and entrepreneurial activity to reach self-sufficiency. In such cases, social entrepreneurs are both social and retail, with revenues and profits generated to sustain their operations and improve the delivery of positive social change.
- For-profit – A social enterprise with mission-driven strategies, a social-purpose business framework that simultaneously performs commercial and social activities to create a sustainable outcome. In such organizations, the social entrepreneur aims to become financially independent, and the investors can benefit from personal monetary gains.
Examples of social enterprises
Rang De is an excellent example of a non-profit social enterprise. Since its inception in 2008, founder Ramakrishna and Smita Ram have created an online platform for urban and rural Indians to access low-interest micro-credits. Nationwide, lenders can directly offer loans to citizens, track their investments and receive payments online.
The George Foundation is another nationally recognized social venture. Their focus on women’s empowerment created awareness among women through education, cooperative farming, vocational training, business development, and financial planning. Through the principles of social entrepreneurship, the organization addresses social problems and creates a positive social impact in society.
Like the ones listed above, numerous social organizations continue to make a difference in the world. The Candian Social Entrepreneurship Foundation, Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, NIKA Water Company, Ashoka, Newman’s Own, etc., are organizations aimed at public welfare and cumulative measures to inspire socially beneficial outcomes.
By improving the conditions in society, social enterprises continue to set a benchmark to revitalize a place, state, country or globe, with ideas that can change the world. These extraordinary people nurture their brilliant ideas to fight against societal pressures and problems against all odds.
More often than not, a social entrepreneurship venture makes a huge difference globally by uplifting people, improving conditions, creating awareness, and embracing humanity as the driving force. Social change starts with you, and social entrepreneurs are individuals who make it their life’s mission to help raise the standard of living in their communities and the globe.