That the last few years have not been easy, we all know. There are some who defend the changes that are happening, there are others who do not.
The fact is that the crisis affected not only the economy and politics, but also the social reality. We know that managers and entrepreneurs have moved on, turning crisis into opportunity.
But, understanding the current scenario, many of them ask themselves: “how can I promote transformational changes in my country?”
To identify these opportunities, social entrepreneurship has emerged in recent decades .
What Is It?
Social entrepreneurship is a term that designates, at the same time, entrepreneurship and development for society.
A hybrid of State intervention and pure business entrepreneurship.
Social entrepreneurship is capable of addressing problems whose scope is sometimes too narrow – both to instigate legislative activism and to attract private capital.
You may be asking yourself: but who is the target of social entrepreneurship?
Most of the time, it is a segment of society that is marginalized or at a disadvantage.
Thus, the possible transformations that social entrepreneurship promotes are numerous: increased inclusion, more equal distribution of income, improvement in health conditions in general and the environment, among other aspects.
The Example of ACT
To illustrate this process, let us look at the example of the Amazon Conservation Team.
The scenario was catastrophic: loggers, farmers and miners illegally cutting millions of hectares of forests. Indigenous peoples were increasingly trapped, and deforestation was taking over the entire territory.
When the government woke up to the problem, it found that, whenever it was able to identify the illegal use of indigenous lands, the damage was already done.
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ACT’s main innovation was to equip indigenous tribes with portable GPS devices and train them to map the lands. With their territories clearly identified, indigenous peoples could monitor and protect their land.
This distributed monitoring system overcame any centralized approach and contributed to the conservation of the Amazon more efficiently and effectively.
Interesting, isn’t it? But the endeavor is not so simple …
Enabling innovation in social entrepreneurship is a complex process. Because it depends on setting social goals, and there are strict financial restrictions.
Therefore, a constant flow of subsidies is necessary – which is not so simple to guarantee.
Undoubtedly, pursuing a social goal while being inhibited by the requirement of financial sustainability is a huge challenge.
Even so, according to the study published on the Harvard Business Review portal , many entrepreneurs are managing to create scalable social enterprises, transforming the unfavorable circumstances that affect a large number of people in business opportunities.
The successful experiences of these entrepreneurs can serve as a valuable guide for others, accelerating the path of society towards a better, fairer future.
Do I have the Profile to be a Social Entrepreneur?
To find out, answer the following questions:
- Do you believe in entrepreneurship and innovation?
- Are you deeply in love with a cause?
- Are you still in love even though you know that in order to reach this cause you will have to face a tortuous road?
- Is your company’s core business related to the change you want to see in the world?
- Do you believe that money always comes when you do what you love?
- Do you believe in collaborative work?
Most of your answers above were “YES”? So, you probably have the profile to be a social entrepreneur. This is because social entrepreneurship requires resilience to face challenges and create innovations.
And How can I identify needs and Challenges that Generate new Ventures?
From the surveys of the Fast Company website , we have listed some important topics to help you identify social entrepreneurship opportunities:
Create systemic thinking: it is important to think that the individual parts of anything can only be fully understood in the context of relationships;
Measure what really matters: Measure against predetermined goals. Consider what matters to your stakeholders, not just what matters to you;
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Find the right people: Social and economic problems often reflect an imbalance of power between the actors involved. Some social entrepreneurs seek to transform the balance by adding new actors to an existing system: customers and the government.
Get out of your own way: leadership is an art. Ask questions, don’t always provide answers. Invest in your own growth;
Give importance to corporate governance: include sustainability standards, commitments to diversity, corporate responsibility and define what type of dialogue you will have with your stakeholders;
Good vs less bad: Make sure your company introduces something good, not just less bad. For example, using recyclable paper that was produced with excessive use of water is not good, it is less bad.
Can Technology be an Ally of Social Entrepreneurship?
No doubt. Technology is one of the most important assets for successful entrepreneurs.
According to the same article from HBR , there are three ways to use it in favor of social entrepreneurship:
Replace a Main Technology with a Lower Cost One
A number of entrepreneurs have innovated by identifying low-cost technology, replacing a dominant standard in a given function or product component.
Create an Enabling Technology
The research identified that the success of social entrepreneurs also comes from the provision or creation of a new technology, allowing the actors of social entrepreneurship to do things that they could not do before.
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Readapt an Existing Enabling Technology
The third mechanism is similar to the second. However, instead of creating a new technology, the social entrepreneur retrofits an existing one from a different context.
Technology to Enable Ideas and Save Time
Finally, with the help of technology, the impacts of social entrepreneurship may have a much greater reach. And this assistance can be direct – with technology making ideas like ACT’s feasible – or indirect, through tools that make management more agile and organized, so that entrepreneurs can dedicate themselves to transforming society.