Social entrepreneurs, where are You going to? One man or woman shows are not enough!

The trend is obvious: social entrepreneurship is ‘hip’. The number of social business conferences, socent challenges, courses offered at universities and numbers of articles published in all kind of magazines is growing obviously. Not just in USA, U.K. and a few more countries, but all over the world. In tapped and untapped markets, countries with large industries and low income countries, poor and rich areas, even smaller ones. The needs may differ, but they exist – no doubt: education, care, health, nutrion, prevention, access, environment …

Not every so-called social entrepreneurship idea and movement is really new, some are just a relaunched empowered movement…  Not every social business is really a business. Not every social business means social entrepreneurship. 

However, there is nothing wrong with it.

The social empowerment has reached even business parts where still a few years ago it was unthinkable that innovative thinking, talent management and new market access would have been linked to. Right, there are many socent ideas coming up now, sponsored by untraditional investors and implemented with the help of players that wouldn’t have had any interest 10, 15 years ago. Because of the artificial separation of mid- and long term social work and short term oriented business that was dominant in the past,  because of a completely different self-understanding of what is needed for the own survival. It was rarely in the last 50 years that co-creation across the traditional borders has taken place: in the business, but also the NGO world the unspoken, but existing ‘that’s what we stand for’ was rarely broken. 

The world changes

The emerging markets, the demographics, the migration waves, the environmental need for change and some more decisive factors are  pushing to re-think old models. The communication revolution via Internet, What’s Up, Twitter and Instagram and co can not be stopped. So, what?

Both worlds need a reorganization: business and social. To be ‘remarried’. If things should change. And they must change. 

But …there is there is still a lot to learn, a lot to risk, a lot to distroy and to re-build. 


Together- that could become the magic word, the way we should explore. It won’t be the single sign social entrepreneurial activity, not the best, but isolated solar or heating solution, not the train the trainer concept that is not scaled up across other topics, too, no transport system – even it is more social than ever before, no green initiative in a big city that will change the world. It will not be single NGO nor the rich big CSR active company that can revolutionize and scale up in a way that changes will happen on a large scale persistently. 

Don’t get me wrong: all these social enterprises and social oriented companies are fantastic and should be supported, imitated, promoted – wherever possible. And many of them ‘as workin as vertical, one to one ‘ activities can lead to many local changes. But it is not enough. 

The win-win-win approach

What we need most is connecting and networking by adding what is already in place, use the strengths of the single stakeholders and put it together, developing holistic solutions for holistic problems. In a few words: The win-win- win approach:

  • creating a win for those in need 
  • developing how to make social enterprises more sustainable (and less dependent from 100%donations) 
  • Think about the other players who are active and how to connect with the aim to become stronger – all together, by building a horizontal network.  

I think building the horizontal network is still underestimated and still at the beginning. Only if this third factor gets stronger, we have a real chance- a chance that social entrepreneurship means really a change in the future. We can not solve multidimensional problems in a one man/woman show. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. hagalloway says:

    Reblogged this on ninogalloway.


  2. hartek says:

    Different sort of thoughts. Thanks for sharing this post.


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