Social problems are hounding the world. Issues on poverty, health, education and the environment, among many others, remain unsolved by governments, traditional capitalism and charities. The failed efforts have given rise to social entrepreneurship, which utilizes business methods to address social issues. The system focuses on bringing social good, impacting societies, or even reshaping the ways of dealing with age-old problems besetting economies and communities.
Much as business and software strategies typically aim to rake in profit, social entrepreneurship targets to “disrupt” the status quo by introducing innovative approaches and applying solutions to social issues that produce measurable, wide-scale end-results. Social entrepreneur organizations essentially push for innovative practices and overcome traditional ones to bring about necessary change. Driven by entrepreneurial zeal, social entrepreneurs aim at building sustainable groups that are set up either as companies or nonprofits.
Comparable to methodologies implemented to bring about effective international business marketing in companies, social entrepreneurship may operate in several, often globally distributed sites. Similar in many ways to a business enterprise, a social entrepreneur organization necessitates an organizational structure to enable it to operate efficiently and take on wider range of actions toward the achievement of its goals.
Arguably, social entrepreneurship is in its infancy stage. However, there is currently a growing interest in passionate social involvement, with a number of organizations venturing into social enterprising. However, the new dimension to enterprising made its mark when Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank Foundation, set the example of a social entrepreneur organization and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
Calling itself innovators for the public, Ashoka envisions profound societal transformation by identifying and investing in individual social entrepreneurs and organizations. It is affiliated with more than 60 countries in Asia, Latin America, Central Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Similarly, Skoll Foundation is propelling societal change for the benefit of global communities as it invests in, connects with and celebrates social entrepreneurship.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, which gathers global social entrepreneurs, government leaders, and business frontrunners at The World Economic Forum, has recently named three organizations as US Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2011 for their innovative social impact.
Becoming part of a network of leading social entrepreneurs from over 40 countries is awardee kaBOOM!, which provides communities with the tools to create places for children to play within walking distance of each one in America. To date, the social entrepreneur organization has mapped more than 85,000 places to play, and built over 2,000 community playgrounds. Founded by author Darell Hammond, kaBOOM! continues to advocate for child play policies across the United States.
Buildchange, a nonprofit founded by Elizabeth Hausler focuses on revolutionizing home building and rebuilding efforts in China, Indonesia and Haiti – countries that are frequently, and recently, earthquake-stricken. Since the great earthquake that shook Sichuan in 2008, Buildchange has advocated for the improvement of building and construction, while disseminating messages on safer building techniques.
Primarily advocating fair labor, Verite was founded by Dan Viederman, and exists to embed social responsibility standards into businesses. It aims to change the working scenarios involving vulnerable laborers around the world, notably in developing areas of China, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
High-performing social entrepreneur organizations are able to meet and exceed stakeholder expectations by applying business and software strategies – with a keen eye for prioritizing social good over business profit. By acting as agents to society, social entrepreneur organizations do not merely change the face of businesses, but also seize opportunities to improve, innovate or invent solutions ultimately to solve societal issues on a large scale.