Left Menu
Development News Edition

What's a social entrepreneur? And other frequently asked questions

Reuters | Updated: 22-10-2019 16:50 IST | Created: 22-10-2019 16:31 IST
What's a social entrepreneur? And other frequently asked questions

Whether it is building schools from plastic waste or opening a cafe staffed by trafficking survivors, social entrepreneurs find innovative and creative ways to solve a diverse range of environmental and social problems through a business lens.

As social entrepreneurship gains traction around the world, misconceptions about the work persist, according to the findings of the Thomson Reuters Foundation's second global poll on the best countries for social entrepreneurs. The survey of about 900 social enterprise experts found more than half - or 54% - said the public did not understand what they did. This compared to 58% in the inaugural poll in 2016.

Here are six frequently asked questions about the sector: 1. What is a social entrepreneur?

There is no universally accepted definition, but broadly a social entrepreneur can be described as someone who uses commercial strategies to tackle social and environmental problems, prioritizing social good while pursuing financial gain to sustain their venture and its impact. 2. Do they run businesses or charities?

Social entrepreneurs can structure their organizations as non-profit or for profit. Typically any profits generated from the business are reinvested to advance their stated social cause or benefit their community. 3. When did the term become popular?

Bill Drayton is said to have coined the phrase in the 1980s when he founded his U.S.-based non-profit Ashoka with the aim of supporting individuals looking to make a positive social change through entrepreneurial means. Social entrepreneurs started being more widely used in the 1990s amid a drive-by co-operatives and community enterprises wanting to use businesses to create social change and an increase in conscious consumerism.

However, over time it has evolved into an umbrella term often used to describe a broad range of activities from a mainstream business that has a social impact to individual activism. Within the sector, there is perennial debate over whether a more concrete definition would help or hinder the sector.

4. Do governments support social entrepreneurs? More nations are considering laws to promote social entrepreneurship, with many implementing legal definitions, tax incentives and funding to businesses looking to do good.

Britain has a specific business structure for social enterprise, offers tax breaks and this year expanded its law incentivizing the government to buy products and services from ethical businesses. This year Thailand implemented a law to give tax breaks to registered social enterprises, who commit to reinvesting 70% of their profits, while Ireland published its first social enterprise policy for social enterprises to help build awareness and growth.

While government support and recognition are often welcomed, there is continued debate over whether regulation could hamper creativity and innovation within the nascent sector. 5. How are they funded?

Social ventures typically generate income from trading products or services. Like charities they can seek grant funding and, like private companies, they can get investment in various forms, such as seed capital or equity. There are many funds designed to specifically help businesses that deliver social impact, known as impact investing – a fast-growing field of finance estimated to amount $502 billion, according to Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), an industry body.

Other ways that social enterprises can raise funds include crowdfunding, community investment funds, and competitions. 6. What are some of the best known social ventures?

Some of the most famous social businesses include Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Britain's the Big Issue, which hires homeless people to sell street papers and sparked a list of similar organisations globally, and India's Barefoot College, which aims to improve life in rural villages around the world by training women skills in solar engineering, healthcare and water testing.

Also Read: GoDaddy Launches New Websites + Marketing Product to Help Indian Entrepreneurs Look Great Everywhere Online That Matters


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

U.S. Democrats to boycott Senate Judiciary vote on Barrett to Supreme Court -source

Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will boycott a vote scheduled for Thursday on Amy Coney Barretts nomination to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat, a Senate Democratic aide said on Wednesday. Democrats are protesting Preside...

Soccer-Bayern's Flick praises efficiency after Atletico win

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick praised his teams efficiency following Wednesdays 4-0 demolition of Atletico Madrid in their Champions League Group A opener. The Spaniards were no match for the quintuple winners who took control of the game...

Democrats to boycott Senate panel vote on Trump Supreme Court pick

Democrats said on Wednesday they will boycott a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee vote scheduled for Thursday on President Donald Trumps nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, calling the confirmation process a sham. The commit...

Golf-U.S. Women's Open to be held without spectators

The U.S. Womens Open will be held without fans this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Golf Association USGA said on Wednesday. The tournament, which is in its 75th year and is the oldest of the five womens golf maj...

Give Feedback