When Social Meets Business

Social Entreprise November 11, 2018

Before the social enterprise concept even came to life, the limit between the profit and non-profit world has never been so clear.

Social issues were addressed within the context of a non-profit organization through fundraising and humanitarian aid, whilst business was focused on profit and market share increase.

The possibility of bringing these two worlds together by introducing the human within the business and financial independency within the organization seemed to be a challenge especially when these entities were already in place and functioning.

Hence, the social enterprise was created to reconcile the business sense of a company with the social cause of an organization, within one entity.

And what globalization has introduced implicitly, is the opportunity to combine and merge different concepts and principles, that even though different from the outside, will eventually lead to innovation.

Caught between social engagement and profit, is social entrepreneurship in an identity crisis or is it an innovative concept?

For a traditional enterprise success is linked to the amount of profit that has been made, whereas for a social enterprise measuring the efficiency of the project is directly linked to the social aspect. Considering that the social or in other words the targeted community is the reflection of the success or failure of a social enterprise.

The challenge is to maintain the balance between the social purpose and the financial sustainability to keep on feeding the enterprise.

Furthermore one of the pros of social change is its contagious ability; by bringing more people on board, the replicability of the project becomes a natural answer rather than a pure financial study only focused on numbers and profit.

The passion and motivation of the social entrepreneur is significant to the sustainability equation. Whereas the selection of a meaningful career is crucial when it comes to the determination of the entrepreneur.

Being part of the social change circle, gives a personal satisfaction that leaves the social entrepreneur wanting more and working harder in order to enlarge his scope of social impact.

Whether a person is a social entrepreneur or an intrapreneur within his company, change is the main and final destination, however the road to take in order to get there is totally up to them.

We live in a time of crisis where social, environmental and economic problems are becoming part of our daily lives. Tackling these social issues leaves a lot of room for creativity and innovation.

A difference in perception is clearly what distinguishes a social entrepreneur from a business entrepreneur. Whereas by looking at the same problem, some people have the ability to see it as an opportunity for change rather than an issue to be solved by keeping it as such.

Empowerment is key when talking about social entrepreneurship, by breaking the vicious cycle of dependency that charity has created, people become more self-reliant, and in power of their own destiny.

Becoming an agent of change is a responsibility within itself, but once success comes along motivation and determination become the sustainability drivers of the social enterprise.

According to Sharad Vivek Sagar: “If money could have changed the world, money would have changed the world”.

*Rima El Khoury comes from a background in Political Science and International Relations. She holds a Masters Degree in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility from EOI (Escuela de Organizacion Industrial) in Madrid.