Starting an own social enterprise is one of many possibilities on how to change the world. Another one is to build a network and environment that empowers social enterprises. Which is your way?
What’s happening in many parts of the world, is that there are many social entrepreneurs engaging in various critical areas: education, environment, health… This is not a real new trend, and there have been such business models even before the terminology and concept of social entrepreneurship have been promoted. However, with the promotion of the social entrepreneurship idea, universities and private companies all over the world start to implement social enterprises and/or spread the voice and it is foreseeable that the number of social enterprises will raise enormously.
When talking to people about social impact creating activities, many of them get enthusiastic. The emotional buy-in is at a very high level – in comparison to many other topics and themes. E.g. Technology-related discussions are very liked, as well, and raise a huge interest. But the idea of fulfilling a social need and to do business at the same time seems to “move people inside” – it has the human touch, the one dimension where everyone can feel part of. Therefore, people start to imagine, what if they could contribute… and some of them take the next step and become an active player by supporting an existing or starting their own social business. There are many opportunities where people can engage- all over the world: NGOs, governmental organisations and social businesses are set up by private persons or companies and they try to do their best.
They do the best based on what they are able to offer. But there is still the old barrier thinking behind: ‘We as social business, we as a company or a political institution, we as a NGO take care…in a particular part of the world, a particular area, a particular social environment. We take a very specific small part and try to change. Just because with our knowledge, our resources and our engagement we can not do more. But like in the business world we need to esta blush entire ‘production cycles’- if change should become sustainable. A solar stoven helps in poor locations where inside cooking is dangerous, requires hours for collecting wood and causes diseases – without doubt – but it is just a very small solution of a huge social ‘change circle’.
What, if we go across the borders? What if we put the same energy of doing good also in connecting to each other and working together on solutions, in setting up a real social production circle that includes education, prevention, implementation, information …? Couldn’t we create much more impact?
I think with social enterprises we are still at the beginning with this type of thinking how to work together. It is a huge challenge to think differently as we have learned in the past centuries that for doing business in a successful way we need to compete and to be the most successful company among others, better as our competitors. But is this way of doing business still important when it comes to the idea of contributing to a better world?
However, it’s time to build a net of social enterprises, to interconnect, to support each other and to collaborate – for creating a sustainable change in the world.