Social entrepreneurship is a new business model, and it’s fast become a big talking point in the business world. But what exactly is a social entrepreneur, what do social entrepreneurs do, what can they achieve, and, perhaps the most important question of all… should you be looking to become one?
What is a Social Entrepreneur?
A social entrepreneur is a business owner who looks to combine profitable business activity with community problem solving. These problems can be anything that can be seen to affect our world, including social, cultural, or environmental concerns. Social entrepreneurship is about incorporating these issues into the business model and helping the world through your planned business ventures.
Interest in social entrepreneurship is rapidly growing for three incredible reasons:
1. Ability to Meet Buyer Demand
At a time when B2B buyers are looking to partner with vendors who are able to demonstrate awareness of world issues — partly sparked by their own interests and partly due to demand from their customers (it’s often reported that customers prefer sustainable companies, so it stands to reason that businesses will be seeking vendors with similar visions to meet customer demand) — it has never been more important for B2B organisations to be able to show commitment to what their buyers care about.
2. Attract the Right Talent
Many Millennials — who make up a significant portion of the talent pool — want to use their skills for good. There is an ever growing trend for candidates to choose roles not based on title or salary, but more on cultural fit and the ability to facilitate change. Today’s candidates are looking for something deeper than simply donating to charity; they want to take a more hands on approach to changing the world through their own work, and they are actively seeking opportunities that allow them to do this.
3. Solidify Your Reputation
Take a moment to think about some social issues, such as climate change, animal testing, and even veganism. These issues have become synonymous with the brands that support them. For example, we can’t think about climate change without thinking about Innocent Smoothies’ work with farmers, or about animal testing without thinking of the Body Shop. Even ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s is known for their promotion of wind power, for supporting marriage rights, and creating vegan-friendly ice cream.
Of course, we can’t overlook the ultimate reason: the chance to really make a difference.
How to Become a Social Entrepreneur
Contrary to popular belief, social entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be born at the same time as the business itself. Small, established businesses can take steps to adding social awareness to their business model in a number of different ways, such as crowdfunding for local issues, launching an employment programme to offer opportunities to those struggling to find work, micro lending to startup charitable enterprises, or even business mentoring for the underprivileged. Find your passion, and make use of your own business operations and activities to educate, support, and promote… and change the world.