by Jenny Beswick
Firstly you may be questioning the meaning of social entrepreneurship and put simply, it is a process of pursuing innovative solutions to social problems. The social entrepreneur creates value and growth, and their mission is to create value of a social nature rather than one of financial gain. Their mission may be to improve things for people via education, healthcare or the arts, or maybe their mission is to care for wildlife or the environment – but whatever the mission is social entrepreneurship is in a nutshell, entrepreneurship with a social mission.
With social entrepreneurship can come questions. For example, if a business creates cruelty-free cosmetics, can it be defined as social entrepreneurship? Well that depends on whether it’s primary objective is to stop cruelty to animals or whether it’s primary objective is to make a lot of money by filling a gap in the market and targeting conscientious consumers.
What Can Business and Non-Profit Sectors Learn from Social Entrepreneurs?
Not all small businesses and start-ups are entrepreneurial – for example, opening another suburban Indian takeaway is not entrepreneurial. Being entrepreneurial is seeking new ideas and innovating. Like starting a takeaway that offers online ordering and timed delivery slots perhaps. One of the key things that both business and non-profits can learn from social entrepreneurs is the way in which the latter are not constrained by their resources or what they perceive their role to be within an organization. Social entrepreneurs think outside the box, use resources creatively and find interesting ways around any obstacles in their way. In fact they see every obstacle as an opportunity. Social entrepreneurs change with the times, and when something stops working, they change tack and try something different. In a Social Entrepreneurship, the investors are the people that give of their time, their money or their expertise. They therefore endeavor to provide a return to these investors, either in a social or financial fashion.
Creating a Strategy to Incorporate Social Entrepreneurship into Business
Being a bold thinker in 2014 is all about taking a different approach to getting things done. Take a leaf out of the social entrepreneurship playbook and develop a business strategy that incorporates socially entrepreneurial elements. Be adaptable and willing to try new things. Entrepreneurs are really smart at achieving more with less and adept at attracting resources by being persistent. They use what they have with maximum efficiency and engage with partners that are willing to support their ideals, financially or otherwise. Social entrepreneurs are risk takers, but the risks they take are calculated and well spread and they have contingency plans in place to mitigate any potential damage should they fail. Social entrepreneurs don’t fail however – they’re forward thinkers with vision and their goal is to implement change. Get on that bandwagon and use the tips for the future to help you on your way.
Tips for the Future
1. Identify a social mission that complements your business:
- Perhaps you can support the welfare of a community by using products in your business that are made by that community.
- Maybe you could use sustainable products and care better for the environment whilst going about your business.
2. Recognize and pursue new opportunities:
- Be like a social entrepreneur – don’t see problems, see opportunities.
- Visualize what you want to achieve and be persistent in pursuing your goals.
- If one approach doesn’t work, try another, and another. Until you find one that does.
3. Continually learn, innovate and adapt:
- You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but you should be seeking new ways to use it. Take an existing idea and apply it to a new situation. Think outside the box.
- Get creative with the resources at your disposal and don’t limit yourself with roles or designations.
- If something isn’t working, change it.
- Collaborate with like-minded people and entities. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.
Jenny Beswick is a bold thinker with innovative ideas. She supports charity work and fundraising events, and in her spare time she works alongside the cancer research charity giving donate team in order to spread awareness on the charity and social fundraising work they are involved with.