Friday, August 10, 2012

Create what you Need!

What is a social entrepreneur?

"Social entrepreneurs identify resources where people only see problems. They view the community as the solution, not the passive beneficiary. They begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they're serving."

-David Bornstein
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

Social entrepreneurs are everyday people with ideas or businesses that deliver a social, environmental or community benefit. They often have a personal experience of the need they are addressing and many are from the communities they seek to serve. As such they are uniquely positioned to address some of our most pressing social challenges.

Social entrepreneurs are passionate, driven and committed. They are motivated by an unmet need in their community or society more broadly and develop innovative solutions to meet that need. They use business not for the sake of profit only but to achieve a social or environmental outcome. For example, work training for unemployed youth, support for new migrants and refugees, or greater access to healthy and affordable food.

While entrepreneurs in the business sector identify untapped commercial markets, and gather the resources to break into those markets for profit, social entrepreneurs use the same skills to different effect. For social entrepreneurs, untapped markets are people or communities in need, who haven't been reached by other initiatives.

But while they may read from a different bottom line, social and business entrepreneurs have a lot in common. They build something out of nothing. They are ambitious to achieve. They marshal resources - sometimes from the unlikeliest places - to meet their needs. They are constantly creative. And they are not afraid to make mistakes

Is social entrepreneurship the same as social enterprise?

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to generate revenue and deliver a social impact. Social entrepreneurs are the individuals who are often behind the creation of social enterprises. However, social entrepreneurs are not limited to social enterprise. They employ the best model to further their social mission. These models can include social enterprise, for-profit, not-for-profit, grassroots volunteer projects and campaigns to create systemic change.