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The term social entrepreneurship was first used during the cultural change movement from the 1960’s through the 1970’s. The term did not come into widespread use until the 1980’s/1990’s.
Social entrepreneurship is ultimately the recognition of social problems and the usage of entrepreneurial-based principles to facilitate solving those problems. Activities involve the organisation, creation and management of activities that are designed to achieve advantageous social changes.
Business entrepreneurs usually measure profit and return performance. In contrast, social entrepreneurs also measure business metrics, along with their positive effects upon society. As such, the main goal for social entrepreneurship is furthering and broadening society, cultures, and the environment, through focused goals.
Social entrepreneurs are usually associated with non-profit and voluntary entities of various business sectors. However, the not-for-profit aspect of social entrepreneurship does not entirely preclude earning profits.
Philosophy of Social Entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurs are individuals and groups who, after noticing a need in the community or anywhere else in the world, design ways to remedy these situations. They apply known market principles along with creative, unusual and innovative methods, to remedy social and cultural problems.
Usually, social entrepreneurs may not exactly begin a project with a goal of earning money however they may switch to the profit business model once the project is stable. Many times, social entrepreneurs become motivated to solve an issue that they themselves were faced with at some time in their lives, for example, poverty, racism, social injustice or sanitation.
One such company that was formed to address poverty was Samridhi Agri-Products. Samridhi’s goal is to provide particularly disadvantaged families with an opportunity to own their own livestock and to learn skills to operate dairy farms. Participants learn initial skills by caring for and milking goats or dairy cows during a period of approximately two years.
Over that time, participants are paid regular salaries and acquire animals for their own business use. In addition, Samridhi maintains local cooling facilities to house milk and make wholesale deliveries to buyers in local urban locations. At some point, community members may join the dairy supply chain to own their own business. This project is meant to contribute to and ensure the production of milk throughout the entire rural region of India.
Groups desiring to support social entrepreneurship through funding efforts include entities such as:
- The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FCCI has established a collaboration effort with actors in India, as part of an innovative funding ecosystem. The entity they have created, the Millennium Alliance network, includes: social innovators, philanthropic organisations, social venture capitalists, angel investors, donors, service providers.
- Social Venture Partners (SVP) is an organisation whose goal is to combine a variety of efforts, to create the largest philanthropic impact possible. The activities involved that do not usually overlap, and are included in SVP’s network include: grant making, volunteerism, non-profit capacity building, philanthropic education.
Each member in the SVP network is an involved philanthropist who believes that they may produce a positive impact upon any community. Every member utilizes innovative business strategies for addressing the most complex social issues that are presently occurring in the world.
- The StartingBloc Fellowship’s Institute for Social Innovation was developed to be a uniquely transformative experience that incorporates: surveys of social innovation, innovative case study competitions, sessions with industry leaders.
Social entrepreneurship continues to flourish, through a wide variety of entities and individuals that work along with like-minded organisations, businesses, governments and foundations, all across the world.
Written by Alison Richmond
Alison has worked in the fundraising industry for several years and enjoys helping to develop different fundraising methods for schools. It’s important that fundraisers don’t lose hope during these difficult economic times and strive for innovation! She currently works for easyfundraising. You can contact Alison at a.richmond@easyfundraising.