The world is changing, and evolving in ways we never imagined. From technology, to the job market, to the way we communicate, our society is a vastly different place than it was just a few decades ago. While some may agree to disagree on if that’s a good or bad thing, entrepreneurship has evolved in ways that have proven to be both honorable and life-changing for the better.
A new kind of “entrepreneurship” has been entering our modern-day jargon, as more and more people are taking on social entrepreneurship goals. If you aren’t familiar with social entrepreneurship, here is a deeper look into what it is, and why more people are pursuing this journey versus the traditional entrepreneurial path.
Social entrepreneurship is when a business start-up creates or develops solutions to assist in combating cultural, social, or environmental issues. Their goal is not strictly making profits, but in the overall greater good and betterment of humanity. Instead of looking at what you can do to make money, you look at how you can better those around you in a meaningful and life-altering way.
Why take this journey?
Some may wonder why this journey would be worth it or how they could keep people motivated on an idea that may only seem like a pipe dream. According to writer Adam Hayes, “Social entrepreneurship is a way to connect you to your life’s purpose, help others find theirs, and make a difference in the world, all while eking out a living.”
For many, tackling social entrepreneurship is about giving back in positive ways. While it may not be the most lucrative avenue for starting your own business, social entrepreneurship is more about the feeling you get when making the world a better place versus simply making more money.
Examples of social entrepreneurship
There are many types of social entrepreneurship initiatives that you may not even realize are out there. As Hayes says, “Their efforts are connected to a notion of addressing unmet needs within communities that have been overlooked or not granted access to services, products, or base essentials available in more developed communities.
Renowned social entrepreneur Scott Harrison gave up a lucrative and financially secure career to assist in bringing medical help to the shores of West Africa. This was a defining moment for Harrison, as he went on to create “Charity: Water” a non-profit whose overall goal is provide safe and healthy drinking water to countries around the globe. Since its inception, “Charity: Water” has raised over $43 million dollars for its cause and mission.
Another great example is Mark Koska, who created a non-reusable syringe that began to be used in under-funded clinics. This initiative helps prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases, and promotes safety at all levels within the medical field. Koska was not only able to help those in need, but also brought to light the need for practical and redesigned syringes. His startup, SafePoint Trust, has delivered over 4 billion safe injections and has made Koska a name within the medical pioneering industry.
At a more local level, social entrepreneurship can be found through the local nonprofits in your area. For instance, my community runs a place called, “Soul Platter Cafe.” The mission of this place is to serve meals where people are fed based on what they can afford or by the donations of others. For those who just want to support their mission, they will either pay more for their meal or make a donation to the restaurant to help support those who cannot afford it. This initiative has not only proven popular with the community, but also with those that need it.
Issues or problems that can arise in the social sector
Like any entrepreneurial goal, social entrepreneurship can face its share of setbacks or issues as well. For instance, some may consider the idea more of an ideological one versus a practical one, especially when it comes to securing the funds for your dream. While there are many successful social entrepreneurs out there, many of them pursued their social entrepreneurial goal once they made a name for themselves in the business market. This helped them put funds towards their personal mission, without having so much pressure on it succeeding right away.
Another issue is getting the support you need from the local community and those closest to you. It can hard enough to get excitement behind your idea, let alone one that you want to change the world with. You have to be sure and passionate that you want to pursue this dream, especially one that may not be the most financially sound at first. However, if there is a need, a goal, and a plan to make it happen, then anything is possible.
If you can dream it, you can do it
Like any entrepreneurial aspiration, if you have the desire to make it happen and see it through, others will see that and want to jump on board with you. A great example of this is one that started as a high school club, but has since evolved into a national organization. When founder Caitlin Crommit was only 15 years old, she was inspired by a scene in the movie, “Patch Adams,” where a man made a dying woman’s wish come true.
In that moment, Crommit decided that she wanted to create the same dreams for those in hospice care, as well as forge multi-generational connections throughout the United States. “Hospice DreamCatcher Foundation” was soon formed, and since its creation, there are now 30 chapters across the U.S., with Crommit becoming the keynote speaker for this cause and its importance for those in need of seeing their last wish come to fruition.
As you get ready to take on your entrepreneurial dream, or are in the midst of living it right now, think about the powerful ways you can influence the world for the better. While it may seem small at first, with passion and determination, anything can become as great or powerful as you make it to be.