Our life is made up of several different elements but we spend the majority of our time focused on work, career and those pieces that provide an income for our family. And for some of us, we actually spend more time with our business associates and co-workers than with our immediate family members. We work crazy hours, long days and even weekends. Internally we are asking ourselves "Are we making a difference with all this 'work'?" Your answer needs to be a resounding YES! Your family looks to you and holds the impression that you do make a difference no matter how outwardly small or large it may be, YOU make a difference! Could you be doing more? Most likely, we all could be doing more but it is about balance. Balancing our personal lives with our professional lives and finding what feeds our soul supports a better community for our family and friends to live within.
For those of you who own your own business or are thinking of starting one, ponder these two questions … Was or is revenue your main focus for becoming an entrepreneur and is maximizing those returns what matters most? If you replied yes but it was done with a heaviness in your heart then I have something for you to consider, a new perspective about how you go about enjoying your business passions while also making a difference with potentially a larger impact. It is called Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrpreneurs are those people who are committed to bringing about societal tranformations through their business ventures.
Social Entrepreneurs are in the business of touching lives, one life at a time to hundreds at any given moment. To be a Social Entrpreneur it means that you do not consider the need of addressing community or social problems being the sole responsibility of your government or the Fortune 500 companies. You embrace the champion within you to positively impact the cause you so strongly believe in. As a Social Entrepreneur you go past the mere level of charity with the 'hopes' you will support shifts within your commuinity and move out into building a business venture that incorporates sustainable organizational models rooted in a cause.
You will be combining your management skills, leadership know-how with your ambition to make a difference in your community and environment. Social entrepreneurship encourages business owners like yourself to go beyond the idea of building a business with the main endeavor of making the 'big bucks' but hold the genuine intention for societal change; you might envision a business with the purpose of social entrepreneurialship to be a blend of for-profit and not-for-profit philosophies.
Of course creating an organization on the ethics of social entrepreneurship is easier said than done. For one, taking this path in public service is filled with challenges such as fiscal constraints and complexities such as acquiring resources like employees. While deciding to follow your heart and move into making a business with a big vision of social transformation, it is strongly recommended you have ensured financial alliances or backers are already in arranged and in place.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of inspirational stories for entrepreneurs of who have lined their own life's journey for success. One of the most well known Social Entrepreneurs is possibly Mr. Muhammad Yunus who formed the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and is a founding board member of the Grameen Foundation. Mr. Yunus initiated a revolution in banking by removing the necessity of security. The depository supplies small loans to with low interest rates as well as ensuring repayment of the loan utilizes an organization of "solidarity groups;" these groups are informal communities who submit an application mutually for the loan, its members act as co-guarantors in repayment. The capital earned from the repayment for the loans is recycled to give out new loans.
The scope of Social Entrepreneurship is enormous; the key philosophy behind it is to launch a corporation that knows how to produce enough of a profit to operate itself while fulfilling a larger collective desired goal like schooling for every one, helping the poor to get back on their own feet, etc.
During our lives we all move through a stage in which we could be considered social entrepreneurs but we transitioned out of this phase because we stick to what society directs us to with regard to businesses are in the business of making money and those who are in it to follow their passions are in it for charity. With a new and differing perspective with a blend of these two philosophies there are very real and distinctive possibilities; each and every one of which are beautiful when they are sound in their business practices. So, if you want to be more than solely a living room advocate, have your dream along with your wish to bring about a change, maybe it’s time you explored this facet of entrepreneurship. You may find the goal of living in balance, following your dreams and bringing about change while running your own business is not that far out of reach.