Social entrepreneurship is when an individual or a company combines elements of entrepreneurship with an awareness of social issues needing to be addressed. It is a combination of business and social consciousness that benefits both elements. According to Public Broadcasting System, other terms for social entrepreneur can be social innovator or venture philanthropist.
The Importance of Social Entrepreneurship
Today’s world is a very complicated place with many issues needing to be addressed. Government funding alone is not the key, but when governments combine with social entrepreneurs in joint ventures, a great deal can be achieved. As pointed out in The Economist, keeping all public services operating solely based on taxation funding will eventually prove to be unsustainable. Therefore, turning to social entrepreneurship in an effort to find solutions outside the box becomes of paramount importance. Without social entrepreneurship, funding for important projects and enterprises might be lost.
When Michael Bloomberg became mayor of New York, he saw himself running the city the same way that he ran things when he ran his own company. What he quickly discovered, however, was that the system in place was actively hostile to change. Innovation was viewed as something to oppose. Therefore, he created the Centre for Economic Opportunity (CEO) that took elements from both public and philanthropic organizations to help lift individuals and businesses out of conditions of poverty. Rather than simply accepting that the status quo be maintained, he created an avenue to solve a problem that might possibly have never been addressed. By choosing to think outside the box, he used social entrepreneurship to address an issue that had to be discussed.
Not a New Concept
While it might sometimes seem that social entrepreneurship is something new, one of the most obvious examples that show it’s been around for decades is found with Newman’s Own, the organization started by the late actor Paul Newman. Paul Newman created Newman’s Own with the intention of using the power of philanthropy to transform lives. All of the profit generated from sales from the Newman’s Own brand is fully given to various charities. This company has been active for over 35 years and is still financially strong and continuning to grow.
According to an article in Forbes, there are five essential qualities needed in order for social entrepreneurship to thrive and grow. They are creativity, leadership, temperament, persistence, and belief. Companies that possess all these qualities seem to be the most likely to succeed. Of course, there are never any guarantees as to whether or not a venture will ultimately make it in today’s marketplace.
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Public awareness of conditions in today’s society dictate that social entrepreneurship become a mainstay principle. Resources for various projects are limited and when funding becomes necessary, both business and socially aware individuals need to combine their talents and create social entrepreneurship opportunities that benefit both society and investors as a whole.