Definition: Social Entrepreneurship refers to a process of doing business with an aim of resolving the most serious and daunting, social, cultural and environmental issues and improve the lifestyle of the people living the community. It is an initiative by the individuals or companies, in which they set up, fund and come up with solutions to these problems.
For this purpose, the social entrepreneur undertakes research in order to thoroughly understand the problem and its causes and then establishes and manages a business enterprise, so as to bring about the desired change.
Further, the profit is not completely utilized to increase the wealth of the business, rather it is reinvested so as to improve the standard of living and well being of the community at large.
In the case of social entrepreneurship, the success of the business enterprise is gauged in terms of the social and ecological impact.
Characteristics of Social Entrepreneurship
- Social Mission: The sole objective of social entrepreneurship is to provide a solution to the existing social issue or problem such as poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, women safety, health care, sanitation, environmental destruction, corruption, etc., for which the venture has been formed.
- Innovative and sustainable solutions: Social entrepreneurs believe that the main cause of the existence of the social problems is that the existing solutions are not at all effective and long-lasting, that can completely eradicate them. So, their approach to resolving the issue will be unique, they also find an innovative and interesting way to devise a solution which is not just insightful but effective too.
- Entrepreneurial Strategies: Social Entrepreneurs use entrepreneurial strategies, skills and principles in order to identify the main cause of the problem and finding out unique solution and implement them so as to eradicate the social problems.
Therefore, social entrepreneurship covers four main elements:
- Focus on a specific social need.
- Oriented towards the creation of social value. Social value implies the fundamental long-standing need of society.
- Stresses on a social change
- Admits that the means to achieve the mission can include completely altruistic, hybrid or market-oriented mechanism.
Who is a Social Entrepreneur?
Social Entrepreneur is an individual who identifies social issues, use his/her entrepreneurial skills to come up with innovative solutions and implement the same in order to benefit humanity. Their main focus is on the marginalized section of society.
A social entrepreneur is ready to bear all the risks and put their efforts so as to bring positive improvements in the condition of society. They create new products and services, systems and solutions to initiate change. Hence, they act as a change agent who fosters innovation and inclusiveness.
Therefore, social entrepreneur, commence business not for making profit but to promote the social welfare of the general public. Such entrepreneurs are also called as Grassroot Entrepreneurs, who grow their venture through economic sustainability and social change.
Examples of Social Entrepreneur
Some examples of famous social entrepreneurs, from across the world are:
- Florance Nightingale (UK): She was the founder of modern nursing, who founded the first school for nurses.
- Margret Sanger (USA): She was the founder of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
- Robert Owen (UK): He was the founder of the cooperative movement.
- Vinoba Bhave (India): He founded and pioneered Land Gift Movement.
- Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh): He was the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and he also received ‘Nobel peace prize in the year 2006′.
The Bottom Line
Social Entrepreneurs put forward the solutions to apparently complex social issues for improving the lives of a number of disadvantaged people, who are powerless, as well as needy in terms of financial means and political influence. Hence social entrepreneurs are the change agents of society who grab those opportunities which are often ignored by others and try to maintain a balance between the haves and have nots.
And to do so, they introduce new approaches and develop sustainable solutions, for the upliftment of these groups. Therefore, social well being acts as a motivation for them. They are ambitious, result-oriented, missionary, strategic and resourceful.