Entrepreneurs used to be smart, risk-taking people who started businesses with one goal in mind: to make money. But times have changed, and with the rise of something called “social entrepreneurship,” the motivations of some founders have shifted from making money to making a difference in the world.
Here, we’ll talk about the idea of social entrepreneurship, get a better idea of what a “socialpreneur” is, look at some examples of successful social entrepreneurship ventures, talk about some ideas for social entrepreneurship, talk about how to choose your own idea for social entrepreneurship, and look at some important statistics about the topic.
What is social enterprise?
Social entrepreneurship is a type of entrepreneurship that focuses on funding or putting into action ways to solve cultural, social, or environmental problems. The term is a bit of a catch-all that can be used to describe almost any private organization that uses business as a way to do good things in the world.
Social entrepreneurship is a broad term that can be used to describe a wide range of organizations. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of a socially entrepreneurial business that says, “A socially entrepreneurial business makes X amount of money within the limits of Y organizational structure for Z cause.”
For example, a mutual aid fund that helps small businesses in underserved areas and a business that uses its profits to pay for women’s education in third-world countries could both be seen as socially entrepreneurial.
Some social enterprises might not have a typical organizational structure. For example, they might be run entirely by volunteers who don’t get paid or by people who give money on their own.
What does “socialpreneur” mean?
A socialpreneur is someone who starts a business with the goal of helping solve social problems and doing good for society as a whole. These businesses can be for-profit, non-profit, or a mix of the two, but funds are usually used to cover operational costs and create programs to help target markets.
Even though socialpreneurs still follow most of the same basic rules as traditional entrepreneurs, there are some important differences between the two.
Socialpreneur vs. Entrepreneur
The main difference between a socialpreneur and an entrepreneur is what they want to accomplish in the end. The first group is less interested in high profit margins as a measure of success. Instead, how their operations help their causes and communities of interest is what guides them.
Social entrepreneurs usually run their own businesses, but they can also start for-profit businesses that fund programs that help with social problems.
Let’s look at some real-life examples of social entrepreneurship in small businesses as well as in larger businesses that do social ventures.
TranSanta is a unique, community-led social entrepreneurship venture. It has an Instagram account that shares the stories of transgender youth who are in need.
These people make Target wish lists of things they need, and other people in the community can buy and send them what they need without their knowledge.
- Sending books to prisons
Books to Prisoners is a traditional non-profit group based in Seattle, Washington, that works to reduce the number of people who go back to prison in the United States.
The organization accepts book donations from both members of the community and established bookstores. These books are then repackaged and sent to people who are in prison, with the goal of promoting education and literacy and making it easier for prisoners to get back into society after they get out.
The program also accepts donations of money to help pay for things like office space rent, book packaging, and shipping costs.
Tranquiliti is an organization in the United Kingdom that works to improve, support, and promote the mental health of young people. Since 2018, the group has worked with teachers, students, and mental health professionals to make sure that schools have mental health services.
The organization wants to improve students’ mental health and academic performance by making learning environments that are positive and supportive.
Sustainable, Organic, Integrated Livelihoods, or SOIL, is a non-profit organization that does research and development to find long-term, low-cost solutions to Haiti’s sanitation crisis.
The organization helps the community by hiring people from there, and it gives 92 cents of every dollar it gets to support and carry out its efforts to improve the environment.
TOMS may be the most well-known example of social entrepreneurship in the world. In many ways, it put the idea on the map. The company started out by giving a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that a customer bought.
But the business has evolved since its inception. Now, buying a pair of TOMS shoes or sunglasses helps provide shoes, sight, water, safe birth, and bullying prevention services to people around the world.
- Ben & Jerry’s
Most people know Ben & Jerry’s for its elaborate ice cream, but there’s much more to the organization than its product. The business is also dedicated to using profits for good.
“To create linked prosperity for everyone who is connected to our business, including suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors,” says the company’s mission statement.
The company works to make the world a better place by supporting environmental farming and manufacturing, racial justice, LGBTQ+ issues, and many other causes.
For example, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is much more expensive than other brands. This isn’t just to make more money, though; the extra money helps the company pay its workers a living wage.
7. Warby Parke
Warby Parker is an American company that sells glasses with prescription lenses, sunglasses, and contact lenses. The company used a program called “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair,” which is similar to what TOMS does. By 2019, the company had given more than 5 million pairs of glasses to places that didn’t have enough eye care.
- Good Eggs
Good Eggs is an online store that delivers groceries and meal kits. What makes it stand out is that its kits are filled with fresh, local produce. Its goal is to make sure that more than 70% of its food, wine, and spirits come from local sources. Each item must also meet a strict list of standards for where it comes from.
All employees also have a stake in the business, which encourages open business practices and reinforces the company’s commitment to the health and safety of the businesses and communities it works with.
Lush is a British cosmetics store that cares about the environment and buying things that are good for society. These ideas are the basis for everything it does, from how it packages its products to how it helps people in need.
All of Lush’s cosmetics don’t come in a box, and the company gives millions of dollars each year to help the environment.
GoldieBlox is a multimedia company that wants to change what it calls “the pink aisle in toy stores.” It does this by using stories to make the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) field fun and interesting for young women, who are underrepresented and underserved in the field.
They make toys, books, apps, videos, animations, and other products to give girls the tools they need to build strong, confident lives.