Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spending a few minutes of Caring (again) about Social Enterprise -

One of the original pathways to be explored through this blog was Social Entrepreneurship. I have not explored this area to any great extent for some time, but below are some links I ran across over the last few months. Even though my other blog focuses on the United Nation Millennium Development Goals, it will still be Social Entrepreneurs who will come up with many if not most of the on-the-ground solutions.

Sam Davidson back on February 9, 2009 wrote about being On Board the Social Enterprise.

He links to Wikipedia for a definition of social entrepreneurship and provides one of his own.

This rapidly growing sector is comprised of businesses, individuals and organizations who are actively working to make the world a better place by making sure that they contribute to positive social actions and ideas such as the triple bottom line.
He recommended spending five minutes today reading about social entrepreneurship, and finding a social enterprise to support.

I haven't touched upon this area for a good long while and so will hopefully be spending more than 5 minutes exploring what is out there. Sam uses Wikipedia again to define the triple bottom line. Here is another one from the Dictionary of Sustainable Management.

An addition of social and environmental values to the traditional economic measures of a corporation or organization's success. Triple Bottom Line accounting attempts to describe the social and environmental impact of an organization's activities, in a measurable way, to its economic performance in order to show improvement or to make evaluation more in-depth. There are currently few standards for measuring these other impacts, however. The phrase was coined by John Elkington, co-founder of the business consultancy SustainAbility, in his 1998 book Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business.

The are a number of other definitions, one featured on my other blog is What is a Social Entrepreneur? | Ashoka.org

Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.

Social Entrepreneurship from the Free Management Library

"Nonprofits have to recognize that they're businesses, not just causes. There's a way to combine the very best of the not-for-profit, philanthropic world with the very best of the for-profit, enterprising world. This hybrid is the wave of the future for both profit and nonprofit companies."-- From "Genius At Work" - an interview with Bill Strickland, CEO of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center Inc.

Social Entrepreneurship - Change.org provides a Primer on Social Entrepreneurship

That said, it's possible to paint a broad outline of the field based on current practices. Organizations driven by social entrepreneurs (often referred to as "social enterprises") tend to draw strategies from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors and often harness specific economic opportunities in their pursuit of social value. They employ earned income strategies to fund their activities, emphasize social impact measurement, and generally focus on achieving "scale," or adapting their model to a variety of contexts. Perhaps most importantly, social entrepreneurs tend to desire not only to meet a specific social need, but change the way those needs are met, in general.

There is a tremendous amount of information out there on the Web, it is just a matter of getting the time to get to it and digest it.

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