What is Social Entrepreneurship?


Over the past few years, the term “social entrepreneurship” has become a new hot topic in the business world. For those that are not familiar with this term, social entrepreneurs are innovators who come up with solutions to handle society’s biggest social issues. This is a special type of entrepreneur, as taking on this type of responsibility not only involves business savvy, but also a passion for improving the world with caring and ethical ideas.

Social Entrepreneurship Examples

One of the best ways to understand social entrepreneurship is to look at some pertinent examples of these entrepreneurs at work. These are some of the most famous and most admirable social entrepreneurs of all time:

Blake Mycoskie – TOMS

Blake Mycoskie is the founder of the TOMS shoe brand. This company has taken off tremendously and become a staple in popular culture today. The company was founded in 2006 and operates on a simple premise: every time a customer buys a pair of shoes, the company donates one pair of shoes to needy people in impoverished countries. The company has already given millions of shoes to those in need, and the brand has even expanded to include glasses.

Jeffrey Hollender – Seventh Generation

Jeffrey Hollender founded Seventh Generation in 1998. This company’s goal is to create paper, cleaning and personal care products that have less of an environmental impact than competing items. The company not only avoids using harsh chemicals, but they also donate 10 percent of their pre-tax profits to fund different non-profits focused on responsible practices.

Jordan Kassalow – VisionSpring

VisionSpring was founded in 1984 by a former optometry student who found that many individuals in Mexico were unable to find work simply because they had poor eyesight. The company officially launched in 2001 as a way to provide eyeglasses to those in need. The company sells eyeglasses and provides vision care at affordable prices to markets that typically untapped for eyewear. The goal of the effort is to bring eyeglasses to the more than 700 million people across the globe that have vision challenges.

Social Entrepreneurship Ideas

Coming up with an idea for a new social entrepreneurship effort can be a challenge. However, there are a few things to think about when it comes to thinking of an idea for this type of business venture.

The most important question to ask yourself of course is “what does my community or another community need?” and “how can I help that community meet this need?”

This is the best place to get started. This will give your company purpose. Remember, the key differentiating factor between a business and a social enterprise is that social entrepreneurs need to have a purpose at the heart of it.

Then you should focus on how you can make a profit. These companies still turn a profit, not only as a way to help the purpose they are working towards, but of course to earn a revenue. It is important to remember that social entrepreneurship and non-profit are not the same thing. It is alright for social entrepreneurs to turn a profit on their business, so keep this in mind when you are coming up with new ideas.

If you keep both profit and purpose in mind when coming up with an idea, it can only help you come up with an idea that is right for you.

Developing Social Entrepreneurship Organizations

When it comes to developing a new social enterprise, remember that you need to have a clear purpose, which means identifying a problem and finding a profitable solution to that problem. From there, you will need to surround yourself with other experts in the field, or mentors that you can learn from. Social enterprises have another component to them when compared to normal startups, so having some expert advice can only help.

When it comes to developing this new enterprise, remember that your start-up staff is very important. You need a staff that both has the hardworking entrepreneurial spirit you need to get your company off the ground and that is passionate about your purpose.

Finally, make sure that you work hard to get media coverage. These types of businesses need a great deal of public attention to succeed, but they are also easier to promote than traditional businesses. From the moment you get your team together, be on the PR warpath so you can start getting your new enterprise the attention it deserves.

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