Small Business News
Social Entrepreneurship on the Rise
In recognition of Martin Luther King Day, we present a roundup about an important new trend, the rise of social entrepreneurship. Instead of profit, the social entrepreneur seeks social change. But, unlike the social reformer of only a generation ago, the social entrepreneutr goes about accomplishing this change using the tools and precision used in building a for-profit sustainable company. In a sense then, starting one of these new ventures is perhaps less like starting a non-profit organization and more like starting a small business. The product? A better world!
What is a social entrepreneur? Check John Garger’s definition: “”¦a change agent who works with missionary zeal to create and sustain social values.” Garger goes on to chart the shape of social entrepreneurship today, from a further definition to a comparison of social and business entrepreneurship, challenges of the social sector and more. Here’s social entrepreneurship 101 in a few digestible paragraphs.
Can social entrepreneurship be taught? One leading university has begun experimenting with teaching about social entrepreneurship in the classroom. Yale has begun instructing business students about the problems faced by social enterprises in the real world. What will be the result of a generation educated in the disciplines, needs and ideas of social entrepreneurship?
Business schools embrace the social entrepreneurship ideal. Specifically, beyond simply studying the problems of social entrepreneurs as indicated above, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University announces an $80,000 social entrepreneurship award. The funding will be granted to students proposing a business model addressing social or environmental challenges and will include mentoring opportunities. Stay tuned.
The growing trend of social entrepreneurship. Just like traditional entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, as an alternative to addressing social needs and challenges, may be gaining momentum not only in academia but among investors and a new generation of philanthropists less willing to hand out money to large foundations and other organizations. The key to success in social entrepreneurship, experts say, is to treat it like a business.
National Public Radio
Some social entrepreneurship goals can be simple. In a world of high tech gadgets and gizmos, one opinion piece argues that one of the greatest social achievements still to left to accomplish is to provide this technology to a huge portion of the global population who still have little or no access to the bare necessities. This is the story of one such simple venture.
Social entrepreneurship focuses on the underserved niche. Take the Excel Center of Indianapolis targeting the very real problem of high school drop outs. Unlike scores of other programs that focus the majority of their energies on keeping kids in school, however, the Excel Center focuses on a very different task, addressing the issue of too many drop outs by getting adults without high school diplomas back into school.