Going Big: Social Entrepreneurship Solving Global Issues
The very nature of social entrepreneurship is evolutionary, as it is something that strives to identify and resolve social issues on a huge scale. As economic and political developments continue to have a heavy impact on individual communities, new social problems emerge and these require thought, innovation and dedication to create and implement sustainable solutions.
The primary difference between a social entrepreneur and a traditional one is that the former is focused solely on generating social capital rather than profit. Not only this, but an individual who engages in social entrepreneurship typically prioritizes long-term revolution ahead of small scale change, whereas for-profit business owners must always act according to their level of profitability.
Social Entrepreneurship in 2012: A Fusion of Business Principles
The mechanics of social entrepreneurship have changed in recent times, however, it now incorporates accepted business practices to generate money and fund sustainable social changes. The integration of ecommerce as a tool of social entrepreneurship is a relevant example, as this has allowed nonprofits to raise funding for their ventures through a basic retail business model. Goodwill Industries, a nonprofit group that offers customized job training and helps disadvantaged individuals find employment, has established a series of retail stores and ecommerce channels through which donated items are sold to the general public.
Goodwill’s innovation has proved invaluable to citizens in the U.S. and Canada, as it has not only raised valuable funding for the group’s projects but also created physical jobs at warehouse locations. This has genuine relevance in the current economic climate, where consumers are embracing the concept of thrift purchasing and the unemployment market remains volatile. Subsequently, a number of resources are now available to nonprofits who wish to enhance their online presence and develop an ecommerce model, with Georgia based website designer 4aGoodCause offering a range of services to help nonprofits achieve their goals inexpensively.
Food and Sustainability: How Social Entrepreneurship is Helping Us Maximize Our Resources
Another prevalent social issue is poverty, especially as the global population continues to soar and stretch the earth’s natural resources. Although commonly associated with developing economies and third world countries, it is now prominent in developed communities throughout the western world. For example, during 2011 a record number of 46.2 million U.S. citizens found themselves living below the poverty threshold, with the recorded rates for southern America especially high. This has given rise to a number of produce driven social entrepreneurial ventures, which encourage economic independence within states and cities.
Nowhere is this type of social entrepreneurship more popular than in Detroit, which has had its wealth, trade and standard of living diminished considerably by the effects of global recession. FoodLab Detroit is one venture that has sought to foster social and economic improvement from within communities, by taking the cities residents back to basics and supporting locally owned and socially aware food enterprises. Grown in Detroit is a similar large scale and local venture, and one which aims to capitalize on the region’s once furtive land to grow natural produce and sell this in the name of affecting sustainable social and economic change.
The Bottom Line
It is clear to see that social entrepreneurship is a fluid and malleable art form, and one that is constantly adapting to help solve prominent and topical social issues. Not only this, but it is also continuing to benefit from more established and sophisticated for-profit business practices, as social awareness grows and the gap between the aspirations of nonprofits and commercial ventures diminishes. Most importantly of all, however, social entrepreneurship continues to empower individuals who are struggling and affords them an opportunity to affect widespread and sustainable social change.
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