Why the world needs social entrepreneurs

Doing good
PostedJanuary 09, 2013, in  Step 4: continuous improvement
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The world’s population is constantly facing challenges these days: around 20% of the people on this planet live in poverty and have, among other, a need of clean water, food, education and electricity. This has the attention of world leaders and big NGO’s, but sometimes de solution comes from an unlikely source. At times innovative individuals are more effective than governments or big organisations …  

New role

People who make the world a better place have existed through time. Although positively engaged and enthusiastic, in general these social entrepreneurs were little effective. They were not taken seriously: what could individuals really achieve? But times have changed and social entrepreneurs have gained power and influence. How is that possible? Social entrepreneurs distinguish themselves in 3 ways:


  1. Social entrepreneurs are pre-eminently innovative. They do not think in standard solutions but are creative, for instance when generating funds by ‘crowd funding’ (> 1 billion US dollars in 2013!).
  2. Social entrepreneurs see society not as a problem, but as part of the solution. They are not looking for what the community is missing, but which knowledge and skills are there.
  3. Social entrepreneurs make ‘social value’ their focal point in contrast to traditional companies where ‘making profit’ is the central theme. It is not about the short term results, but about the structural changes in the long run.  Or, as social entrepreneur Bill Drayton puts it: ‘Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.’

Jamie Olivers Restaurant Fifteen at 15 Westland Place,
London (photo The Hammer, Wikimedia Commons)

From underprivileged to promising

A good example of social entrepreneurship is project ‘Fifteen’ of Jamie Oliver, where underprivileged youths are provided with an opportunity to get training in hospitality. Since its inception in 2002 hundreds of young people have built a new life through ‘the art of good food’. Another example is Amul a cooperation of farmers that has been active in India since 1946. The goal: help small farmers join forces and get fair prices for their products, independently from major cartels.

Amul Plant at Anand featuring the High capacity Milk Silos
(Notnarayan, Wikimedia Commons)

New reality

Our dynamic world constantly requires creative ideas and innovative solutions. In this light the rise of social entrepreneurship is logical. It is not ‘the newest fashion’, but the new reality on our way to a sustainable future. 

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PostedJanuary 09, 2013, in Step 4: continuous improvement
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