There are so many reasons to start a business – to be your own boss, job security, financial independence, recognition, legacy. Did you know, however, that a large group of entrepreneurs are actually going into business for another reason entirely? More and more people are starting businesses with the sole motivation of making a difference – in their communities, their country, and globally. This group of do-gooders have been branded social entrepreneurs or (my personal favorite) Philanthropreneurs.
When you think of this concept, often you will think of major global initiatives spawned by successful businessmen and women – Like Bill and Melinda Gates or Richard Branson. I’d like to encourage us all to think of this idea on a more local level. Social entrepreneurs are, by definition, individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. While things like finding ways to address the drought in California are certainly on a larger scale, much social entrepreneurship truly happens on a grassroots level. Finding solutions for youth aging out of foster care or mitigating pollution in the Indian River lagoon are issues that hit a bit closer to home. What needs do we see in our own community? What is currently being done to address these needs and where are the gaps? Success comes by filling the gaps.
Many of today’s leading social entrepreneurs have created organizations that are neither businesses nor charities, but rather hybrid entities that generate revenue in pursuit of social goals. In an article from Entrepreneur Magazine in March of this year, Catherine Clifford addresses the misconception that companies that do good can’t make money and that companies that make money can’t do good. She discusses impact investing and the trend towards using profit to fund purpose. Check out the article HERE.
Besides, going into business for yourself is rewarding, but going into business for the greater good is even better.