Category Archives: Business
Businesses with a conscience. They are concerned with the well-being of the people who buy from them. They want to address a social problem or an issue that no one else seems to be addressing. Although it is still a business, and it has to operate on a profit, the main concern is still the social good that it provides.
One of the examples of a social business is Grameen Bank, founded by Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh. It provided micro credit to poor women in rural communities so that they could get out of poverty. The women were thankful for the micro-loans. Grameen Bank also helped the women with the training they needed to ensure that they will be able to pay the loans they took. Through this effort, the Bank ensures sustainability and the process does not degenerate into a dole out.
Addressing social issues. There are businesses that address social issues such as poverty, empowerment of marginalized sectors, as well as working with government to end pervasive social problems. These social problems sometimes have lives of their own. When left unchecked, they grow exponentially and become more difficult to tackle. Of course, governments all over the world may be hard pressed to solve these issues but they simply lack the time and the resources to do so. With social businesses, private individuals and sectors have a chance to contribute to solving these problems while ensuring sustainability.
Sustainable development. Sustainable development has been the buzzword of institutions such as the World Bank in the past decades. But somehow, it is very difficult to achieve. Various grant requests have been submitted from all over the world but through the platform of social business and social entrepreneurship, sustainable development has become possible.
Focus on social value and not profit. Profit is not the over-riding goal of social businesses. Instead, they seek to create value and promote the social good. True, they need the profits so they can continue to operate but the margin of profit is not as high as that of commercial organizations and businesses. In effect, they are just making their recipient responsible. Without some form of responsibility from those who receive assistance, they tend to forget about what they receive. The worse thing is they even forget to improve themselves and they come to rely on the service providers.
Open source, which is also referred to sometimes as crowd sourcing, may be partly credited for the popularity of social innovations. When lots of people come together and they brainstorm for solutions, they end up solving a number of problems that seem insurmountable at first. The purpose of these innovations is not for profit, but for pursuing the social good. It also overlaps with government, public policy and even with the non-profit sector.
Social innovations have impacted several areas for the better. The following areas have been improved due to social innovations
Public Services. Governments are coming to realize the importance of providing healthcare to their citizens. Through social entrepreneurship and innovation, public services are becoming more accessible to citizens. Various technologies are being used for this purpose. So, as a result, more and more people come to rely on the health care provided by government.
Social entrepreneurship and business. Social services are becoming more available to those who need them. The good thing is, they are no longer provided using a dole out framework. Instead, people are coming to realize the importance of being responsible for themselves and not just to rely too much on the offered aid.
Collaboration across different sectors. Solving social problems cannot be done by lone crusaders. Instead, more and more people, organizations and sectors are becoming involved. Through collaboration, more and more aspects of the problems are identified, analyzed and subsequently solved. More minds at work means that more aspect of the problem can be addressed. This cannot be done by a single player or a solo crusader. Collaboration certainly makes social innovation more effective and efficient.
Diffusion of innovation. With the interconnectedness of the world, more and more people get to know about the innovations in one part of the globe. When people learn about them, they become challenged and they also seek to implement similar ideas.
I Want To Make Money
Although “capitalism” has become a swear word in some circles, it’s naive to ignore it as a motivation. We all have to make money to provide the necessities and luxuries of life. There is a difference between capitalism and greed.
Many businesses that have built themselves up as profit entities want to divert some of those profits to socially responsible programs. Although some may view it as a tax dodge or a PR move, a lot of positive effects have come out of programs such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or the Ronald McDonald House.
The first step is to consult with your accounting services firm to see where the profits are. Even if you run on a thin margin, you can still find ways to help people. Organizations such as “1% For The Planet” encourage their members to donate 1% of their revenues to environmental organizations. If that’s too much, something as simple as removing a few light bulbs or implementing carpool and work-from-home programs to save fuel can make a huge difference.
I Want To Help People
It used to be that forming a helpful organization meant creating a non-profit foundation. Recently there has been a huge surge in a movement called “social entrepreneurship”. People form for-profit companies that exist to divert their profits to socially relevant causes. Newman’s Own is an example most people are familiar with. Paul Newman’s grinning face appears on products from spaghetti sauce to lemonade and all profits from these products go to charitable purposes.
Social entrepreneurs understand that to help people they have to make profits. Many work with outsourced accounting services to keep a close eye on the company’s financials to ensure that the business is run as efficiently as possible. They can provide positive products and services in their own right plus make significant contributions to charitable organizations.
Facebook jobs (and this applies to all other media as well) generally consist of a number of different services:
– Planning and executing marketing campaigns that focus on social media platforms. This includes tracking the company’s social media exposure so that you know exactly which channel you should focus on.
– Increasing the number of ‘likes’ or ‘friends’ or even followers of company’s page so that its message can go across to as many people as possible.
– Providing regular updates to the company’s social networking page so that customers always have something new and interesting to need.
– Ensuring that other people spread information about marketing campaigns that you have launched so that they are distributed to a very wide audience.
– Keeping track of trending topics so that you can incorporate them in your marketing efforts, thereby staying relevant at all times.
– Collecting feedback from customers so that products and services can be customized.
– Conducting training sessions for customers so that they can manage their social networking marketing on their own.
Entrepreneurship development is especially important in developing countries. Because of the lack of jobs in these countries, people need alternative ways to make money. Instead of doing something illegal, it would be better to pursue entrepreneurship. This has been shown as a great means of lifting people out of poverty. By gaining access to capital-mind you, it does not have to be big, just enough to get things going-they can start some enterprise, which will then become their main source of income. As they start to life themselves out of poverty, they will come to realize that they have the power to make their lives easier. With that power, they will also realize that they can empower other people to get themselves out of poverty, too.
Entrepreneurs also need leadership development. This is how they can grow their enterprise and engage other people’s help with their project. Leadership development will also enable entrepreneurs to meet other people like them who do have similar interests and who have the same problems that need solving.
Leadership development cannot be done only through training and lecture sessions. Sure, these lectures may help the participants understand the theory and the basic ideas behind the process of leadership development. But without implementation, theory will be useless. What they need, then, is to be in situations where they can actually use the lessons they learned. They can implement these lessons as they go back to their enterprises.
The problem, though, is that they do not know where to get access to leadership development opportunities. It is therefore important for them to look for the programs organized by non-government organizations and by the government, too. Through these programs, they will be able to come up with a list of skills that they will need to become successful in their business endeavors. They can also look for possible opportunities online.
Social entrepreneurship is not a totally new term, its been there for generations. Today we are having more people get involved in social entrepreneurship. A social entrepreneur is a person who applies the principles of entrepreneurship to a social problem. In this manner, he or she is able to resolve the social setback and at the same time generate wealth from the intervention. Is this possible? Yes it is. Here is an example that speaks for itself:
Nobel Laureate, Prof Mohammad Yunus – This man worked among the communities that lived below the poverty line in Bangladesh. While trying to empower them socially and economically, he observed that they are trapped into poverty because of lack of credit. When given access to micro credit, sometimes as little as USD 50, they can leverage it to catapult themselves out of the abject poverty conditions they lived in. Grameen Bank evolved on the principles of micro-credit financial institutions, designed to provide money to those who would otherwise not be eligible for formal credit. The Grameen Bank is an institution, which is making huge profits and also empowers the poor to break out from the shackles of economic helplessness.
We Need More Of This Tribe
The world is full of situations where communities are neglected, where social intervention is required, where efforts to improve conditions depends upon the funds the local non-profit organization raise. Social entrepreneurship are more culturally sensitive than ever before, and those who get into the business of social entrepreneurship, know to take account the values of the local community in which the intend to serve. Today, we need more social entrepreneurs; we need people who can work out solutions that generate funds for themselves, and not depend upon charity.
Social entrepreneurs are empathetic, and have they ability to collaborate well with others, motivating them to act and serve selflessly. Social entrepreneurship can very well be the solution of a better tomorrow, a world which can take care of itself and eliminate hunger, social inequality, economic challenges and other such community issues.
Today with the rise of social media it makes it easier for social entrepreneurs to use the technology available to them for better communication, connection and mobilization.
Social entrepreneurship has been one of the most productive ways of keeping people safe, comfortable and the environment clean as well. Social media has played a huge part in the push to make the world better. By sharing ideas and information over the net it has never been easier for people to come up with plans together and to organize. Organizing and executing various strategies is easy for anyone because of the huge multi-billion dollar online networks out there. People share through cloud services, You-tube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Skype and many other services and community websites.
One of the main companies creating and actively implementing innovative ideas is Open Ideo. Open Ideo has ensured access to safe drinking water where there wasn’t any before, they have pushed to deliver immunizations to countries and communities that need them in order to be safe and prevent the spread of disease. The company has accomplished its goals through donations and sharing innovative ideas online and off. Open Ideo isn’t just about you donating either; it’s for you to share your ideas as well. Anyone can post for a cause and start garnering attention, in fact just recently a famous chef Jamie Oliver took advantage of the website and partnered up in order to teach children about the value of nutrition and how choosing the right foods to eat really does matter.
It’s easy to share and Ideo isn’t the only one taking advantage of these innovative ideas online. The Uniform Project is more of a business venue however the company is built around charity. This is one of the first companies to show that a business can exist with a social conscious in a major way, and not simply as an afterthought. The Uniform Project is constantly working to donate to charity, providing clothing to the poor and still manage to sell their clothing to emerging celebrities.
There are some community websites that offer a variety of social innovation project choices for you to back. A social innovation project doesn’t necessarily mean donating money; it can be showing up to an event or just putting in some time online to help spread the word. No Right Brain Left Brain is all about getting the creative community together, sharing innovative ideas, trying to solve problems and collecting the tools that can help make schools a better place for students. This comes in the way of supportive scholarships, tools for students to take advantage of, books and more.
Affiliate Marketing — This is a way of making money on the Internet by working as an affiliate of companies or individuals and help them sell their products. You make money through the commission from every sale that you have made. Affiliate marketing is considered as one of the easiest ways to make money on the Internet because of the fact that with it you don’t have to create your own product or develop a service.
Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) — This is a very popular way of making money both online and offline. It is called as such because of the marketing structure involved in it which is usually made up of several levels. In MLM, you can earn not only from the sales that you have made but also from the sales of the people under you in the structure which are called downlines. This is a viable business opportunity that has produced many millionaires already.
Network Marketing — This is often mistaken for MLM but it is actually a much broader concept. This is a form of marketing, used both online and offline, where social and interpersonal networks are used to promote a product or service. This is one of the best ways to make money on the Internet since it makes use of a very common human phenomenon which is linking with each other and creating relationships.
The youth have a lot of passion. Social entrepreneurship is not motivated by money or profit. It is actually driven by a desire to make the world a better place. Too often though, charitable institutions are not creative or ambitious enough to make big changes in the world. With the passion of youth social entrepreneurship, perhaps the world can be a better place.
Almost boundless energy. With youth come strength and energy. Although a lot of youth and young adults are devoting their energies to destructive causes such as gangs and self-destructive habits, some youth can be asked to make a difference in their world. With their almost boundless energy, the youth can certainly make an impact in any of their chosen advocacies or causes.
Technologically savvy. The youth are also savvy in using the internet, the Web and the latest technologies that come out in the market. While older people tend to use such gadgets extensively, youth tend to be more creative in using these tools and integrate them in their lives. The use of technology can enhance whatever cause that youths choose to support.
No big deal responsibilities. Most youth are carefree. This just means that they still do not have big deal responsibilities. Because of that, they have more free time to travel, to devote some part of their money to some cause and advocacy. They can also serve as volunteers in a non-profit organization. Or, given their youth, they can even start their own movements in changing the world.
Risks. Youth are generally risk-takers. They want to always push the limits and boundaries-whether in the home, in the school or in society. Imagine if the youth expended their energy on a world-changing activity and opportunity! The world will become an amazing place in no time.
The concept of social entrepreneurs making profit along with improving the society does not make sense to all. Many companies believe that they can either benefit the society or make profit. There is no doubt that sometimes effectiveness and efficiency can’t be achieved together. If social enterprises start focusing on making money, their ability to serve social and environmental causes might get affected.
But one also can’t deny the fact that such enterprises need a strong financial backing so that they don’t have to compromise on their objectives of sustainable development. Since banks are mostly risk-averse and foundations don’t offer grants on easy terms, lack of finance has become the biggest hurdle for such enterprises to grow. Therefore, social entrepreneurs should try operating and thinking like commercial businessmen to some extent so that their services don’t get affected due to irregular cash flow.
Experts believe that non-profit organizations can run efficiently as a sustainable business if the services they provide to the community, provides something back to the business that can help the enterprise grow further. This concept has been coined as creative capitalism within which a company can make profit as well as serve the society. TOMS Shoes can be considered a good example of creative capitalism. When a consumer purchases one pair of TOMS shoes, the company gives a pair of new shoes to a needy child. With a simple yet innovative One for One concept, the company has managed to make a difference along with making profit.
Private companies are profit based and this in turn attracts investors from all sectors. More social entrepreneurship funds are required to make the social investment community as strong as the mainstream investment community. Partnering with private companies will also help social entrepreneurs learn more about running business the smarter way.