Among the large number of individuals chasing financial freedom, there is a growing minority of social entrepreneurs who are focused on solving some of the world’s biggest problems. Utilizing the latest technologies and innovations, they are driven to create an impact that will improve our lives and environment. Making money is not enough for them. They need to add meaningful value to the world
1. You will be an inspirational source of impact
There is entrepreneurial passion and there is impact. Guess what, in a social enterprise you can have both! How about putting your energy into solving a meaningful issue that will contribute to our society and/or to make our environment more sustainable?
On the employees side, we are getting familiar with these newbies called “Millennials” who are slowly but surely starting to occupy the workplace. They have a different sense of priority, and as fastcompany.com reminds us, only a few rank money as #1 criteria while the majority actually “wants to work with purpose”.
“Social enterprises fulfill a pressing desire to work with purpose and align people’s efforts with their values.”
A growing number of companies already started to enhance the link between purpose and work. Social enterprises however, truly fulfill this pressing desire to work with purpose and align people’s efforts with their values. Global success stories such as Tom Shoes and the Grameen Bank, also local ones such as Scholly in the US or Triodos in Belgium highlight the opportunities for employees to switch from #workforsalary to #workforpurpose. Even better: beliefs stating that “doing good” cannot be turned into a viable business finally fade away. So yes, you can survive, financially speaking, while tackling a social or environmental issue.
2. You will respond to customers' needs
You surely have noticed that our sustainability awareness has been rising in the past years. The Guardian states that even the crisis “has not dented people to minimize their impact on the environment and their spending on ethical products”. This proves the demand of market for businesses with social mission at the core of their raison d’être.
It is true that social enterprise’s customer segments can be tough to handle because there are often not only the clients’ but also the beneficiaries’ needs to fulfill. Moreover, as the former segment is allowing the social business to serve the latter, there is a balance to be worked out. Take the example of a social grocery as Eis Epicerie in Zolwer (LU) that has regular clients paying the fair price for local and fair trade products. Enabling the beneficiaries of the social office can access these products for an affordable amount.
However, the current trend for environmentally friendly and ethical products dispels doubts about the lack of opportunities for social businesses to be profitable. In brief, as long as there is a need to fulfil and a viable business to develop, there’s no reason for you to shy away from the customer segment challenge.
3. Relationships beyond economic purpose
Social enterprises also have the ability to build strong relationships between individuals in social and economic networks. As opposed to traditional commerce and other business connections, social relations facilitate exchanges are nourished mainly by emotional support provided not only to people in need but also to the entrepreneurs.
By the same token, sharing information and resources amongst communities can be beneficial to similar social groups from different parts of the world. For instance, international humanitarian initiatives like fair trade have proved that social entrepreneurship can also help create networking opportunities between two or more countries and reinforce those who are being economically and socially marginalised.
4. A more responsive business to create economic and social value
This fast-growing sector can solve social problems and exploit new market opportunities more responsively than traditional businesses. Social enterprises do not rely only on the priorities of governments and that is why they can respond to social problems more efficiently. Additionally, not depending on limited funds from official institutions make it easier to meet the needs of our society.
What is more, being change agents for the community and significantly contributing to the global economy, social entrepreneurs deliver solutions in a way the State does not. This is also why social entrepreneurship is important –it offers alternative solutions when the administration is not acting effectively to supply the urgent needs.
5. A social mission to make the world a better place
Going by the motto “do well by doing good”, social value and social change are at the heart of any social enterprise operation. Monetary profit becomes just a tool for entrepreneurs to accomplish people-centred goals. Certainly, social entrepreneurship is more than an economic activity –it gives society positive world-changing solutions at a time when we need them.
Social entrepreneurship matters because it maximises social benefit. Entrepreneurs from the third and the fourth sector consider it as their obligation to give back to the community. And to do so, they find unique ways of creating sustainable solutions to either global or local pressing social issues such as healthcare, homelessness or child labour.