Superhero or social entrepreneur? (Infographic)

Image by magnetme from Pixabay

By Lily Crager from Great Business Schools

In 2006, Muhammad Yunus turned heads when he won the Nobel Peace Prize for founding a bank unlike any other. There is a rooted stereotype around banks as big, corporate machines that run on greed and cater to the wealthy. Yunus, however, started Grameen Bank on the founding principle that it was a bank for the poor. This at the time was unprecedented.

Yunus gave small loans to qualified people of Bangladesh ranging from $25 to $500. This led to 10 million Bangladesihes raised out of poverty between 1990 and 2008. His microloan concept has been replicated by many and transformed the banking landscape. His idea also revolutionized entrepreneurship as it showed that social issues can be solved through innovating and applying traditional business tactics. This novel concept the field of social entrepreneurship.

As social entrepreneurship has evolved into everyday rhetoric, the definition of it has become hard to pin down. Social entrepreneurship rubs up against adjacent fields, namely, nonprofit work, corporate responsibility programs, and traditional entrepreneurship. For example, Bill Gates is set to become one of the most generous philanthropists of all time due to his unmatched charitable donations. Despite this benevolence, it’s up for debate whether or not he is a social entrepreneur. Microsoft’s mission isn’t to solve a global problem, but instead to produce cutting-edge technology. This differentiation is the main one when it comes to defining social entrepreneurship.

If you’re looking to get into the social impact space, social entrepreneurship is a viable path forward especially if you have the creativity and ambition to match a challenge as tall as starting a business. But before you do anything, you’ll need to read up on what social entrepreneurship is and how you can make an impact by employing business strategy.

With entrepreneurship, it’s hard to carve out a clear path forward. Unpredictability is apart of the job title, but there are a couple of things you can do to educate yourself on the field and start to ideate on what type of impact you want to make.

First, you’ll want to explore model examples of social enterprises. Companies like TOMS, Misfit Foods, GoldieBlox, and Better World Books are archetypal examples of social entrepreneurial ventures. They exist in the private sector but have social-based missions.

Once you familiarize yourself with some of the big players in the industry, it’s time to assess if you have the capacity to do the work at hand. Social entrepreneurship depends on sharp business skills. So, if you’re looking to break into the field, you’ll want to consider getting an MBA. Fortunately, there is a menu of programs that cater specifically to social entrepreneurship. Some of the best business schools like Duke, Harvard, and MIT all have niche programs to educate on social impact.

Once you’ve nailed down your business expertise through a formalized education and you’ve researched successful social entrepreneurial firms, it’s time to ask questions. What problem are you looking to solve? Will it make the world a better place? Do you have the drive to take it on? Essentially, perform a litmus test on your idea and see if it has the capacity to make global change.

Social entrepreneurs seek to solve some of the most difficult and devastating problems our world faces. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they are the closest thing to corporate superheroes. If you have the ambition you can make an impact with your business savvy, and educating yourself is the first step. Read through this infographic for some of the essential information


What is Social Entrepreneurship

Sources: Grameen Bank | GreatBusinessSchools

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