Social entrepreneurship has been getting more and more on people’s radar as it becomes more mainstream. Social entrepreneurship is a subset of entrepreneurship with the emphasis on using business to drive a social change. On the the Twitter chat, we have featured guests like Nick Allen of Spring Ventures and Eve Blossom of Lulan Artisans. But social entrepreneurship is so varied in the types of products and services offered as well as its sociological impact that it is worth taking a look at what might be coming next.
What’s driving the future?
According to thepost on Fast Company about the 10th annual Skoll World Forum,there are 10 ideas emerging:
1. Changing systems- Taking the “it’s always been done this way” and providing a fresh or completely different way of doing things
2. Change is accelerating- New ideas and technologies are being offered in the marketplace at a faster pace than perhaps has been experienced in the past
3. To solve our problems, we need more problem solvers- Encouraging all people to take part in solving problems in their own communities and beyond
4. It starts with young people- Educating more young people to be entrepreneurial as well as guiding them to be changemakers
5. Scale through collaboration- More and more startups and organizations are partnering, franchising or scaling through influence are providing new models for growth
6. Technology is driving creative disruption- With more access to devices that connect us all, there is more democratization and opportunity, particularly in developing economies.
7. Power is moving from few to many- Anyone can have a voice and anyone can use real time data so less of the power is concentrated in an elite group.
8. The silos are breaking down- A question was raised regarding if the former boundaries and models of NGO’s, corporations and governmental agencies are being redefined.
9. Here comes the social intrapreneur- Increasing numbers of changemakers within established organizations leading the way to more sustainable and human-centered endeavours.
10. When you pass the torch on, light many fires- Succession planning and legacies goes beyond simply finding someone to step into your shoes.
Lots of different angles to change the world
All of the social entrepreneurial ventures take a known problem or practice and simply create a response that gives us an opportunity to look at our world differently. Sometimes the best way to create a different result is to change the playing field. In the post, Independent Diplomat and Khan Academy were featured but there are others. One venture that is changing a system is the Irish small business cooperative, Smeople (I wrote this profile on Rob Marr on TweakYourBiz.com). Whether it is diplomacy, education, small business funding, hospitality or the fashion and apparel industry, changing the world is not a one solution enterprise.
So far, many of the 10 ideas mentioned above are young in their development, even 10 years on. There are uncertainties about how viable some of the business models are as people work to combine social good with earning profit. It seems we are in a time of great change that involves social and economic models.
Two slogans come to mind as I look at these 10 different ideas. One is that “all politics is local” which was coined by Tip O’Neill, former Speaker of the House in the US Congress and the other is “act locally, think globally”. As social entrepreneurs step into gaps left by NGO’s, governmental policies or cultural mores, it seems that a grassroots response is producing these new ideas which have a foundation in older ideas. Perhaps we are seeing the cornerstone of a new perspective on business. Instead of business being a greedy and uncaring entity, it can be a source of social change, generosity and caring. It remains to be seen as these various ventures mature over time.
Join us Friday, May 17th at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am Pt on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz as we discuss the future of social entrepreneurship. Here are the discussion questions:
What do you observe about social entrepreneurship?
How do you see the idealism of social entrepreneurship becoming more mainstream?
What are potential barriers to more adoption of the spirit of social entrepreneurship?
Who gets left behind as social entrepreneurship becomes more mainstream?
What expectations are being created for social entrepreneurial ventures in terms of sustainability, creating customers and earning profit?
What role should businesses have in creating a more equitable and just world?
About the author: Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth, small business coach and executive coach, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding locally or internationally, Ability Success Growth guides established small business owners and executives to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.