Social entrepreneurs identify societal problems and work at solutions for societal gains rather than financial return.
There is nothing more powerful than a new idea or an old idea whose time has arrived. What both new and old ideas would have in common is that they offer a solution for a pressing societal malfunction. When the idea is inculcated and stands the test of trial and implementation and results are judged successful, it can then be rolled out to the larger community.
Social Entrepreneurship may not be a phrase that everyone is familiar with. Think Albert Schwietzer or Jimmy Carter. Think Gloria Steinem or Mother Teresa. In simple terms, social entrepreneurs advance social innovation by focusing on and harnessing new ideas, new approaches, new technologies or all of the above to facilitate change. Unlike other well-meaning people and organizations who dedicate themselves to social improvement, the social entrepreneur is invested in a unique approach that cuts through old assumptions and tired systems.
Government and business play a part in bringing and providing funds for societal problems. But government and business have to answer to broad constituencies and special interests that may be vested in certain outcomes. The social entrepreneur is looking for solutions that work, starting small, and sometimes changing course as needed. It requires tremendous commitment and energy to change the face of an organization, seize opportunities that others may not see to improve systems and find new approaches to solving issues that affect the lives of many.
Social entrepreneurship can pave the way for social innovation and transformation in education, economic reform, healthcare, human rights, the environment and political systems.
I like to think of myself as a social entrepreneur and based on the choices I have made, that I have promoted societal progress. Whether it’s being one of the youngest women presidents of a New York Stock Exchange company or spreading awareness for women’s heart health, the point is to spend time and energy to help make the world a better place.
It’s easy to talk about world problems, it’s another thing to get involved and make a difference. To be part of the solution and not the problem. Every person, and every person’s choices can make a difference.