Many of you consider itself a social entrepreneur. For some of you, this is the first time you hear the word. And many others, believe it’s a sect of crazy people or millennials hugging trees. All this is just an indication that we should talk about it. (This is the first part of a post I will split in two)
As you have seen, there are very different perspectives for this concept. So, please, let me propose you a way to solve these differences at least for today. Let’s try to answer together, What is social entrepreneurship?
To do this, let’s come back to school and make this small quiz. What is social entrepreneurship?
A. A necessity
B. A trend
C. A market result
D. Enterprises and people that are solving the most complex social problems in their communities
Well, the good part of this quiz is that all the answers are right.
A) Social entrepreneurship is a necessity. Everyday we see that our countries and the world need social entrepreneurship to tackle community issues that are dividing and affecting citizens and places.
B) Social entrepreneurship is a trend, and a positive trend! Who you believe nowadays is the most powerful person/tool to define that something is a trend? Any idea? Well, the answer is Google. A Google search for “social entrepreneur” yielded the following results in different years since 2000.
- 389 RESULTS IN 2001
- 3,000 RESULTS IN 2011
- 733,000 RESULTS in 2015
- And just last week I got 10,400,000 RESULTS
I bet if you do the search now, the number will be up at least by several thousands. And I promise, it wasn’t me doing it. Definitively, people is talking about this and getting into this. And if social entrepreneurship is a trend, the experts in innovation know that a trend is one of the key inputs used to generate business innovation.
C) Social entrepreneurship is a market result. This is one of the answers that I like the most, because it’s one of the reasons most of social entrepreneurs and activists don’t like. But, despite many opposition to this idea, social entrepreneurship is also the result of the offer and demand dynamic seen in the markets. And why I say this? Mainly because of the consumer. The new consumer is asking for social-impact solutions to BUY!! So entrepreneurs and companies, even though in some cases they don’t care about social impact, they need to care now and include it in their ventures.
And finally, D) social entrepreneurship is enterprises and people that are solving the most complex social problems in their communities. Here are some examples. Muhammad Yunus with Grameen Bank gives solution to access to finance. It makes small loans to the bottom of the pyramid without requiring collateral. Wendy Kopp with Teach of America generates educational equity. This non-profit organization has the mission to enlist, develop, and mobilize as many of the most promising leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.
I also want to highlight some of the social entrepreneurs we support at The Global Good Fund. Gene Gurkoff, a 2013 GGF Fellow, with Charity Miles facilitates donations and fundraising. He created a mobile app that let you donate the miles you run and walk everyday to the charity of your preference. You make the miles and one of his sponsors donates a value in dollars for every mile to the charity you choose. And Gui Braga, a 2017 GGF Fellow, with EGALITE gives access to job for people with disabilities in Brazil. Using the same model and technology, he is now scaling his business to other parts of the world and generating employment in other communities. For example, he is now expanding to the US market, using his technology to generate employment in people above 50 years.
Somehow, we are all social entrepreneurs! You just need to choose the good you want to do and define the numbers you want to achieve.
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” John Wesley
Agosto 29, 2017
P.S. The second part of this blog will be a summary of why social entrepreneurship is important, the position of LatAm in this ecosystem and what I believe are the key success factors of the social entrepreneur.