Where do one gets the courage of leaving his job as an Investment banker, as a senior geologist or sell his successful IT company to become a street sweeper in Klipgat or to teach physical challenged people art work. What do we call such people? are they serious about life? are they materialistic? I wonder. OK, such people are called Social Entrepreneurs.
According to Wikipedia Social entrepreneurs are people who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). They differ very much from business entrepreneurs. Remember business entrepreneurs use their ideas to generate maximum profit. They provide jobs, pay tax and contribute to corporate social investment initiatives.
The so called social entrepreneurs do voluntary work and they are linked with non-profit making organisations. Social entrepreneurship engage business principle to tackle daunting social problems. Social problems that are evident in South Africa are access to quality education, orphans, access to housing and job creation. As I am on the issue of access to quality education, I am reminded of a story of a renowned gentleman by the name of Taddy Blecher, a qualified Actuary who founded a non-profit making tertiary institution, Cida City Campus, In South Africa. There are great minds like him in this area of business. Taddy Blecher assisted thousands of brilliant people in South Africa to get tertiary education.
Thabang Skwambane left his high profile job as an investment banker to open a foundation called Lonely Road Foundation to help rural communities support their orphans and vulnerable children. People like him gives hope to people who directly benefit from their foundations.
How do they make money or raise funds?
The fact that social enterprise is not a non-profit making organisation must be borne in mind. These people generate income for their business, however they do not generate good profit. They are also not governed by companies act and as a matter of fact they are not required to adhere to King III. However, their business practice must be legal and must commit to bring positive change to society.
The history of social entrepreneurship
Even though, this may sound like a new term, this business practice has been in existence for a long time, for a donkey’s years. It spans from the lifetime of Florence Nightingale (founder of the first nursing school and developer of modern nursing practices), Robert Owen (founder of the cooperative movement), and Vinoba Bhave (founder of India’s Land Gift Movement). During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries some of the most successful social entrepreneurs successfully straddled the civic, governmental, and business worlds – promoting ideas that were taken up by mainstream public services in welfare, schools, and health care. (Wikipedia, 2010).
Social entrepreneurship is the next big business venture in this world. Or rather, would you allow me to say that the businesses that shows deep interest in matter of social change (Corporate social investments) are on the rise. Recently the bourse of the Republic of South Africa, JSE introduced a new index called SRI (Social Responsibility Index) for corporation that adheres deeply to social responsibility. Now how about you start a business in this area?
If, for any reasons, I have sparked interest on this subject, please read further the book titled “From dust to diamonds” by Gretchen Wilson, because now I am about to quote Frank Sinatra when he said “Somebody stop me now”.