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Importance of social entrepreneurship

As there is an increase in social problems such as violence against women, poverty, climate change, education disparity, AIDS, and more, social entrepreneurship is the need of the hour. A few organizations that promote social entrepreneurship are the Skoll Foundation, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. Few Social entrepreneurial efforts are:

  • Paying African women to go to free HIV clinics
  • Delivering grid-powered electricity to food trucks
  • Educating poor girls in Africa
  • Helping Central American coffee farmers to get fair prices· Giving clean drinking water to one million people in seventeen countries
  • Getting more American kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)

Social entrepreneurship is important because it provides a framework for businesses to find their own success in the pursuit of helping others.

There is a great deal of interest in social enterprise today because this approach offers a new and possibly more sustainable path for us to address the world’s most pressing challenges. The social enterprises deliver benefits in a self-sustaining way by using their revenues to finance activities that generate social benefit.

Employment Development

The first major economic value that social entrepreneurship creates is that social enterprises provide employment opportunities and job training to segments of society at an employment disadvantage (long-term unemployed, disabled, homeless, at-risk youth and gender-discriminated women). In the case of Grameen, the economic situation of six million disadvantaged women micro-entrepreneurs was improved.

Innovation / New Goods and Services: Social enterprises develop and apply innovation to create new opportunities and new products, goods and services. Issues addressed include some of the biggest societal problems such as HIV, mental ill-health, illiteracy, crime and drug abuse. An example showing that these new approaches in some cases are transferable to the public sector is the Brazilian social entrepreneur Veronica Khosa, who developed a home-based care model for AIDS patients which later changed government health policy.

Social Capita: Next to economic capital one of the most important values created by social entrepreneurship is social capital which refers to establishment of key social networks with groups and organizations. Examples are the success of the German and Japanese economies, which have their roots in long-term relationships and the ethics of cooperation.

Promotion: Social entrepreneurship fosters a more equitable society by addressing social issues and trying to achieve ongoing sustainable impact through their social mission rather than purely profit-maximization. A case is the American social entrepreneur J.B. Schramm who has helped thousands of low-income high-school students to get into tertiary education.

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