Social entrepreneurship is a process by which people build institutions to advance solutions to social issues, such as poverty, sickness, illiteracy, human rights violations, environmental degradation, and corruption, to improve the quality of life. The most appropriate definition was laid forth by Greg Dees, who is thought of as the father of social entrepreneurship education. Greg states that social entrepreneurs create new groupings of people and resources that significantly improve society’s capability to address various issues. According to him, social entrepreneurs create public value, follow new opportunities, revolutionize and adapt, leverage resources they don’t control, and portray a strong sense of responsibility. Social entrepreneurship is a rapidly developing sector that utilizes business tools for the betterment of the society.
Years of work on social entrepreneurship has demonstrated that the progress of high-impact social ventures cannot be made single-handedly, but in collaboration with businesses, investors, and an invested public sector, all of whom endeavor to create a sustainable positive difference.
The exact definition of social entrepreneurship- an enigma.
While individuals may define themselves as social entrepreneurs for their contribution to benefit the societies, the social entrepreneurship sector is yet struggling to gain academic acceptability. The term “social entrepreneurship” is yet in need of an appropriate definition. The current use of the term seems ambiguous and limitless, and therefore it needs restrictions. The practice of social entrepreneurship needs to be properly defined which requires a hypothetical infrastructure that links it to the theory of entrepreneurship.
How to become a social entrepreneur?
First, to achieve success as a social entrepreneur, you need more than a business idea. You need a business strategy and the tenacity to see it through.
Why a social entrepreneur?
Have got what it takes? Don’t answer immediately, think about your motivation, is it because you want to do some good or find a way for to give back to society? Being a social entrepreneur means dedicating time, money, and efforts to help solve the issues of other individuals. You need to figure out why you want to become a social entrepreneur in the first place and understand all its aspects. Remember, self-reflection is the key that will keep you going and will prevent you from going off-track.
Your primary objective
If you are ready to take this path, then it is time to decide what your mission is going to be. Which issue(s) are you going to tackle? Think about abilities, previous experience, professional skills, and whether you have access to the required resources. Have a clear-cut plan and finally decide if you want to tackle that problem. Research thoroughly about the type of social business setting you want to work in and learn more about competitors. If a social entrepreneur is out there, having a similar business or idea, do not give up but instead use that as an inspiration and possibly reinvent the idea.
Creating a business model
How can your business concept be different from others? A helpful exercise would be to continuously make notes that are directly related to what you are trying to achieve with your social enterprise. Remember, your business model has to create a positive impression on your staff, retailers, and clients, as well as serving a societal need. You should have a clear picture of what you want to achieve and how will you achieve it – preferably in ways that have not been done before.
Partnership and a team
Can you do this all by yourself? You can and you may but wouldn’t it be so much better to have a partner that can share the burden of work with you? Not only that, partners can help you in establishing your enterprise. They may have useful contacts and connections for you and your business. Genuine humility can assist you at this stage to keep you in partnership with the people, institutions, and communities that you’re trying to help.
A “partner” is not essentially an individual who will work for you either as a collaborator or an employee. Rather, it’s someone who will be a supporter of what you’re trying to achieve through your work.
To create a “team” look for individuals that are already in your life and who you consider to be reliable friends and mentors. They could be people who are simply on the same wavelength as you who want to make a difference too. Team members are people you can freely throw ideas to and get some feedback in return. They are the people who know you and what you can do and can help propel you forward.
Funding and marketing
This is the critical part. If you have reached this stage, then it’s time to look for financing options. Even though your business is focused on meeting social needs, all businesses still need to generate income, pay employees, and provide services. Will you seek a business loan or a loan from family and friends? Do you have funds that you can invest or are you on the lookout for potential investors and venture capitalists? If you are unsure, then you can try and reach out to other social entrepreneurs and get their opinion on the issue.
The next important thing to check off your list is marketing. You need to spread awareness about your brand and your work. Crowdfunding platforms, for instance, are excellent resources for helping social entrepreneurs grow and establish themselves. Create your website, and spread the word on social media platforms as well. If nothing does it, then simply shout out from the rooftops. Let the world know what issues you are trying to resolve and you might inspire other people in the process.