Social Entrepreneurship Dummies Guide – Before going into the details about how social entrepreneurship can bring about change in society. We first need to understand what a social entrepreneur is and what do we mean by social entrepreneurship.
Who is a social entrepreneur?
Social entrepreneurs are visionaries who try to bring about positive change in society by practically applying their social entrepreneurship ideas and strategies to resolve social problems in the society. These problems are vast and diverse in nature. They are threats not only limited to a particular community or region, but they are global in nature; some of the common social issues and problems are-inadequate education and health facilities and system, environmental threats, declining and inefficient political systems and governance, poverty, unemployment, inequality based on gender, caste and creed; increase in crime rates and so on.
A social entrepreneur is an individual who works with an initiative to develop pioneering ideas and solutions for the existing social problems and issues faced by society. They try to resolve these problems by changing the system of working and mindset of people, by spreading awareness about how to tackle these problems and issues, and developing social entrepreneurship resources to empower the community. They try to convince society as a whole to think on different dimensions and directions. Social entrepreneurs develop simple, comprehensible ideas that people can understand and use to better and develop society. They aim to identify and create efficient changemakers or role models who will, in turn, motivate the masses to develop their own ideas, solutions and strategies to resolve these social issues. In short, a social entrepreneur is an agent or mediator who thrives on bringing about positive change in society.
How do these social entrepreneurs function?
They firstly analyse the social problem/issue to be tackled. Try to find out the underlying causes and roots of the problem; this is done through thorough social entrepreneurship research, field analysis findings, surveys and observation methods. Then they study and link them in terms of the existing societal patterns and emerging social entrepreneurship trends in society. Then, ideas and strategies are developed to change the people’s mindset, bringing change in their lifestyle and attitude. They try to identify and develop change-makers from the society itself; these change-makers work as role models, motivators and leaders to bring about positive, progressive changes in the entire system.
These changemakers form a team, social entrepreneurship network, and a platform for people with similar goals and objectives. This platform allows the interchange of ideas, feedbacks and development of effective strategies to resolve the problem. This platform also associates the funders who want to associate themselves with bringing about positive change in society and the change-makers. The social entrepreneurs collaborate with social innovators, funders, grass-roots leaders, social workers, and community organisations to bring about effective, long-lasting social changes in society.
What does social entrepreneurship mean?
So we know who a social entrepreneur is, now we need to understand what social entrepreneurship means. Social entrepreneurship is a process through which we try to resolve social entrepreneurship problems and issues using social entrepreneurship business techniques. Here, the entrepreneur aims to improve the performance and profit of his own organisation and aims to provide positive profits to society. There is no concrete definition of social entrepreneurship, as people from diverse fields are associated with it- philosophers, social activists, environmentalists and socially oriented professionals. Social entrepreneurs have different strategies for bringing about change in society; some provide contracted work to public establishments; others provide social entrepreneurship funding in the form of grants and donations and develop social and economic assets and resources for the community.
What Social Entrepreneurship focuses on?
Social entrepreneurship focuses on gaining an understanding of how a social problem develops and how an entrepreneur, with the use of his innovative, practical ideas and business strategies, develop solutions to resolve the problem; and motivates him to utilize the available social entrepreneurship resources to overcome the problem to benefit the society as a whole. Social entrepreneurs focus on utilising the various available resources to create a better and progressive society. As social entrepreneurship does not have a concrete definition, groups focused on social entrepreneurship can be categorised into:
- Community-based enterprises; are based on societal ventures. The community as a whole utilises the capital to empower itself.
- Socially conscientious enterprises; these enterprises focus on sustainable development through social gains.
- Social service organisations and professionals; these work to expand social capital for individuals, community and organisations,
- Socio-economic enterprises focus on bringing about profits to the individuals and non-profit social change in the community.
Apart from these, some organisations focus on social entrepreneurs’ empowerment; they create a platform to connect these social entrepreneurs with like-minded people, mentors, and funding agencies. They help in further strengthening and fortification of the various social entrepreneurship model.
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Factors in Success of Social entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship’s success depends on the social entrepreneurship skills, talent, and qualities present in a social entrepreneur. With their innate talents and skills, these social entrepreneurs can bring about major positive social changes in society. To bring about this change, they need to:
Identify the social issue/problem.
Social entrepreneurs are zealous about solving the problem in the society. They have an urge to take positive steps to resolve these issues using social action and resource development. This may include bringing in change in the working pattern of the system, changing people’s mindset and attitude, creating awareness or pulling in resources for better social entrepreneurship and education, health or livelihood facilities.
Developing a social mission
The focus should be on social ventures. These ventures should attempt to improve the community infrastructure, the people’s livelihood, improve the standard of living of the individuals, and facilitate improvement in the environment. The social entrepreneur should always focus on how the organisation’s profits can be utilized for the benefit of the community and the environment.
Every social entrepreneur should develop plans and strategies which would determine the efficient management of the problems. He will have to identify the resources which would make the mission a success. This may require him to seek support from like-minded people, experts in the field and funders who would support him financially to achieve the goals and objectives. He will also require local help from people to identify prospective change-makers, who would act as role models to for the masses to persuade them to bring in social change through a positive mindset and action.
Develop sustainable models
The entrepreneur’s aim should be to develop such a business that would bring in a profit for his organisation and benefit society as a whole. They need to develop such future strategies to provide a sustainable livelihood, income, and resources to the community’s people.
For successful social entrepreneurship, one needs to assess the results and outcomes regularly. This can be done through monitoring and evaluation of the social impact developed through the venture. Example of social entrepreneurship has the venture resulted in developing any kind of employment, if yes how many people have benefitted from it, has there been any change in the standard of living of the people in the community, has it been able to increase and develop social and economic resources in the community. This information needs to be recorded, firstly for future comparison of the social entrepreneurship development process, and to make the masses aware of the mission’s achievements and how it has impacted in bringing around positive social change. Recording or documentation will further help in developing efficient strategies and plans for future advancement and improvements. This will also help identify what more resources and support systems are required to make the venture more successful and effective.
People perceive that changing society for the better is just impossible; it requires lots of effort and resources. At the same time, the social change process can begin with a single determined individual; who strives and dreams for the community’s betterment as a whole. One should have a vision and mission to make society a better place to live. An individual who can deeply understand and analyse the social issues and problems can analyse the underlying reasons and factors responsible for such a problem; can develop ideas, practical strategies and solutions to tackle them can start a positive initiative to bring in positive change in the society.
In this social entrepreneurship process, one needs to generate a support system in the form of prospective change-makers, role models, leaders and funders who would assist in bringing about the required social change. The process of positive social change in society through social entrepreneurship will influence, benefit, and enlighten many other fields. Donors and patrons will find an avenue to invest their grants and funds; policymakers will get an idea of developing a similar problem-solving model which will benefit the nation as a whole, professionals will find new employment and career platforms, the youth will get inspiration and motivation to become prospective change-makers and will be encouraged to participate in the change-making process.
Characteristics of Social Entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship is a platform or way in which people come together and work to create an equal, just and sustainable society. They should work to bring in positive social, economic and environmental outcomes for the society. Characteristics of Social entrepreneurship are as followed :
- It should be based on the values of equality and justice.
- Its objectives should focus on investing the surplus in developing resources for the community and not just making economic profit.
- The organisation structure and composition should be based on collective and joint principles.
Social entrepreneurs develop employment and livelihood opportunities; they provide on the job training and other types of the social entrepreneurship training program to the unemployed, disabled and vulnerable youth. They develop practical strategies to overcome social problems; for example, through microfinance policies, they provide livelihood and economic security to the unemployed, women, and the community’s underprivileged section. They create social capital for poverty alleviation and economic development. They strive to create equality and justice in society.
In short, we can say that social entrepreneurship is the process through which a social entrepreneur tries to bring in positive and effective change in society by tackling various social issues and problems proficiently. The social entrepreneur develops a mission and vision to bring in a change in society. They possess innate talent and qualities to understand and analyse social problems. They can develop creative, innovative ideas and strategies to help alleviate these problems from society as a whole. They believe in developing and creating change-makers; they empower these change-makers to motivate the masses to participate actively in the change-making process. They further develop support systems in the form of funders and social entrepreneurship resources which would bring in strategic change in the individuals’ lives.
Social entrepreneurs focus on developing an equal and just society by providing economic and social security to the members of the society, by providing them livelihood opportunities and by raising the standard of living of the people. They bring in policy changes through effective decision making, for the community’s betterment, by providing them with problem-solving models. They work for economic profit and invest the surplus profit to create social and economic assets and social entrepreneurship resources for the community. They act as role models to motivate the youth to initiate action to bring positive social change in society. Social entrepreneurs address global problems such as poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, inadequate education and health facilities and policies, inefficient governance, etc. They create a global platform for like-minded people who work as a team to fight these issues.
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