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What is a social entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is an individual who takes the risk to start their own business based on an apparent opportunity in the market or a product they have created, while assuming most of the risks and reaping most of the rewards of the business. This definition, however accurate leaves out an important part of being an entrepreneur, and that’s being a problem solver first. After all that’s how you attract customers, how is anyone going to pay you for a problem you are not solving. While the former is solely determined to make a profit, entrepreneurs can also focus on making a real change, even if it’s without an expectation of making money in return, well at least not a lot of it.

There are a few ways a businessman can achieve this social currency. Social entrepreneurship is an approach, in which entrepreneurs develop, fund, and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.

Below are the four types of social entrepreneurs, the community social entrepreneur, the non-profit social entrepreneur, the transformational social entrepreneur, and the global social entrepreneur. Let’s take a deep dive:


1. The community social entrepreneur

The intension of this entrepreneur’s initiatives is to look for models that lead to successful formation and operation of entrepreneurial community-based enterprises in a particular geographical area or for a marginalized demographic. These enterprises are aimed at serving the social needs of these communities, anything from job opportunities, supplying sanitary pads to young girls reaching puberty, or even offering mentorship to school kids.


This work requires an engagement with the community members and its leaders because their commitment to the cause is crucial if they are going to carry on and run the initiatives without the direct influence from the sponsoring enterprise. All you need to do to start this type of initiative is to find a local unique social problem and apply yourself to solving it.


2. The non-profit social entrepreneur

More business-savvy entrepreneurs who want to use their skills to create change, start by joining a local non-profit program, because that is more reliable. They do not prioritize traditional business needs, as in material or financial gain. In fact, the profit that could have been earned by the entrepreneur is reinvested into the business, to enable the organisation to expand on its services.


This means that the ability for the enterprise to have continuous social impact, depends on the entrepreneur’s ability to generate profit, and succeed.


3. Transformational social entrepreneur

Any growing economy relies on government and big business to satisfy some of its social needs, through practices and policies intended to have a positive impact on the world. However, for the needs that government and business cannot meet, we have transformational entrepreneurship. These are non-profits that evolve to with sufficient time and growth to a point of working with or integration into government. This results in bound by complex rules and regulations that other organizations must create.


4. The Global Social Entrepreneur

This entrepreneur’s goal is to primarily have an impact on a global scale. To realistically reach these heights one would need to partner with other social entrepreneurs and build a community under the banner of solving social issues globally. It is important however to be focused on a particular social need, this can be anything from access to sanitary pads for young girls, education, or clean water. These entrepreneurs seek to completely change social systems to meet major social needs globally.


Why do we need social entrepreneurship?


Social entrepreneurs draw attention and provide solutions to pressing social issues in our communities. Their efforts improve the lives of citizens by highlighting pressing problems that might plague a neighborhood, country, or group of people.

They inspire others to do good, and sometimes great things. Their ability to uproot great ideas and bring others on board serves as a powerful catalyst to build a creative environment. There are lesser known but also effective social entrepreneurs who bring about change every day in the communities where they live and work, and that is inspirational.


What are the challenges of social entrepreneurship?


Social entrepreneurs face several different challenges. The following four appear to be recurring themes regardless of the context and other influencing factors – Lack of funding support, ability to scale up, duality of mission, lack of proper business strategy. These are challenging many enterprises in general go through, especially in the start-up phases. Real effort must be put in to develop processes to overcome these challenges.


How can we encourage social entrepreneurship?


An incredible method for empowering the youth to become social entrepreneurial visionaries is to by really showing them what sort of effect they could have. Young people are the future who need to influence the world and can surely accomplish more through friendly business than some other sort of work field.

In conclusion, Social entrepreneurs are a very important part of our society. By identifying and finding solutions to societal needs they are easing the tensions that may be brewing up in our neighborhoods, that otherwise government would have neglected. The nature of the problems being solved is an important point as well, as these are supposed to be providing relief to a particular group in the community.

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