Social entrepreneurship is on the rise over the past couple of decades. Companies that aim to “do well by doing good” are pushing businesses everywhere to think about their impact on society. It’s not easy to run an enterprise that is both successful and helps the community.
Yet, some companies have improved community well-being successfully through business. Find out more about what social entrepreneurship is, and how you might become a social entrepreneur below.
What is Social Entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurship entails creating businesses that help to improve the lives of those who are excluded, marginalized, or suffering. Basically, these organizations have a dual mission of being both economically and socially responsible. But, it’s hard to create businesses that are both economically viable and do good in the community. The problems that these companies tackle are thorny – like poverty, hunger, and homelessness.
In order for social entrepreneurship to be successful, a few key factors need to be in place. First, entrepreneurs need to deeply understand the community so they can recognize needs that have to be met. Second, they have to be innovative in their approach. Solving these problems requires creative thinking! Finally, they need to recognize challenges and be resilient. Because of the complexities involved in the problems being tackled, social entrepreneurship requires a thick skin. You have to be ready to face challenges head on and bounce back from failure.
Types of Social Entrepreneurship
Broadly, there are four types of social entrepreneurship. The first type is a “buy one, give one” model. This model occurs when customers purchase something that then covers the cost for a second item of the same type. You may have seen companies that use this model. For example, a company would fit this model if they donated a blanket to someone in need every time a customer bought a blanket.
The second type employs people in need to create products or services for customers. An example of this would be a company that hires people who have been previously incarcerated to work in a manufacturing plant. In this model, the community benefits from the economic value of having jobs that wouldn’t have otherwise been available.
The third type of social entrepreneurship is a model in which companies provide subsidized cost services to those in need. A company would fit this model if they were offering low cost mental health services to individuals living in underserved communities. Finally, companies can mix these types together. Most commonly, companies combine the second and third types, where they offer low cost services and also employ members of the community they serve.
Social entrepreneurship can increase well-being for entire communities. It has to be intentional and planned with a deep understanding of the needs of the community. But, when it’s done well, it can make a big difference in the lives of so many people in need.
We believe that social entrepreneurs are incredibly valuable in society and hope that this post inspires you to think about your own impact on the community around you! We have talked about the value of showing compassion to others on our podcast before. The more good you put into the world, the better off we all will be!