Whenever society is stuck or has an opportunity to seize a new opportunity, it needs an entrepreneur to see the opportunity and then to turn that vision into a realistic idea and then a reality and then, indeed, the new pattern all across society. We need such entrepreneurial leadership at least as much in education and human rights as we do in communications and hotels. This is the work of social entrepreneurs
Bill Drayton – Founder of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
The social entrepreneur is a mission-driven individual who uses a set of entrepreneurial behaviours to deliver a social value to the less privileged, all through an entrepreneurially oriented entity that is financially independent, self-sufficient or sustainable
Social entrepreneurship consists of creating an economic activity to match the social need and environment protection. It is a huge emerging movement of worldwide consciousness which show the limits of the old capitalistic models. It is about developing an efficient economy for the benefit of people.
Social enterprises have objectives of social interest and are completely immersed into the marketplace, creating sustainable values. They are economically efficient and try to solve social and environmental problems where the state fails or do not know how to deal with them.
They work on a « win-win » basis and their development is generally based on partnerships. Through this approach, they can ensure sustainability, find new solutions and enrich their skills. They give a sense of purpose to every activity that they manage.
They go further that the « Corporate Social Responsibility » concept putting the social and environnemental objectives at the heart of their strategy, their offer and business.
Their leaders are driven by social interest. As an inner energy, they are driven by high ethical standards and values and a high sense of purpose in life. Profit is a mean and not the objective. Their will is to build a more humanistic and sustainable economy and to share the wealth.
Social entrepreneurs develop a new model of enterprise based on 4 pillars which combine both the economic and social needs of the business:
As a social enterprise, the structure has to develop a sustainable model which means:
The main difference between a social enterprise and a classic company is to go beyond the economic impact. As a sustainable structure, the social enterprise generates profits and focus on the positive social or environmental impact. For example, a social enterprise can have specific recruitment strategy (people from deprived areas, people with a disability, ex-prisoners, etc), make changes to the production processes (ethical procedures, local development of the population) or work with a specific type of customers (people without financial difficulties).
Its mission is written in the statuses of the structure. The social entrepreneurship is not a « display window »; every actor has to demonstrate this attitude every day.
As a company, the social enterprise has to be profitable to exist and to develop. But this profitability is a mean/way to serve the social or environmental mission. The social enterprise invests its benefits into the development of its employees and local population so as to dispose of higher ressources and maximise its social and environmental impact on a long term perspective.
Basically, it means:
In a social enterprise, the decision process is not done by the owner of the capital. The social enterprise considers the involvement of every single actor (employees, local authorities, suppliers, sponsors…) in the name of efficiency and quality of service.
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