Social entrepreneurship is the process of recognising and resourcefully pursuing opportunities to create social value. It is an approach by individuals, groups, start-up companies or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural or environmental issues. One example of social entrepreneurship is the microfinance institution. These institutions privide banking services to unemployed or low income individuals or groups who otherwise would have no other access to financial services. This concept of social entrepreneurship may be applied to a wide range of organisations, which vary in size, aims and beliefs. One thing that however remains constant is that, the main goal of social entrepreneur is not to earn a profit. They are either non-profits or they blend for-profit goals along with generating a positive “return to society”. Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to enhance social, cultural and environmental goals which are often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, health care and community development.
HISTORY OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP :
The concept of “social entrepreneurship” is not a new concept, but in 2000s, it has surely become more popular among society and academic research. The terms Social Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneur were used first in the literature in 1953 by H.Bowen in his book “Social Responsibilities of The Businessman”. An entrepreneur is defined as someone who “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower productivity into an area of higher productivity”. The difference between “entrepreneurship” and “social entrepreneurship” stems from the purpose of creation. Social entrepreneurs aim to transform societies at large, rather than transforming their profit margin. In the span between 1950s to 1990s, politician Michael Young was a leading promoter of social entrepreneurship and in the 1980s he was proclaimed as the “World’s most successful entrepreneur of social enterprises”. Young created more than sixty new organisations worldwide, including the School for Social Entrepreneurship (SSE), which exists in the UK, Australia and Canada. These institutions support individuals to realise their potential and to establish, scale and sustain social enterprises and social businesses.
ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS :
Some of the conspicuous characteristics of social entrepreneurs include –
• Curiosity – Social entrepreneurs must nurture a sense of curiosity about people and the problems they face. The best social entrepreneurs try to understand the needs and desires of the people they serve.
• Resourcefulness – In the world of social entrepreneurship, key resources, such as human as well as financial capital, can become scarce. Successful social entrepreneurs know how to leverage the resources at their disposal and develop innovative methods to overcome obstacles.
• Pragmatism – Pragmatism is very important because great social ventures are not born overnight. Changing the world definitely takes time, effort and experimentation. Experienced entrepreneurs know that they need to take small steps in pursuit of their goals.
• Openness to collaboration – Social entrepreneurs need to stay open and attentive to potential partnership and collaboration opportunities. In many cases, collaborative initiatives can achieve social or business goals much more effectively than solo endeavours.
• Persistence – The successful social entrepreneurs are the ones who overcome initial setbacks and persevere to deliver effective solutions.