Social Entrepreneur: Is this the Best Job?

Hey all,

I’ve been checking out and interacting with you many of you over blogs and twitter, and many of you have been asking whether social entrepreneurship really is the ideal job. So I just wanted to go in detail a little more about social entrepreneurship as a job, but also as a lifestyle.

Profile of a Social Entrepreneur

There are many advantages to being a social entrepreneur, and many people see this as an ideal job since it uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve social and environmental problems. There are now over 400 companies which are certified as B Corporations, and the field continues to expand rapidly. The movement has taken a turn to the for profit sector in recent years with the rise of companies like Toms Shoes.

Traditional businesses like Timberland and SmartWool have also been expanding their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Those who want to pursue a career as a social entrepreneur should possess a creative mind for business and a concern for improving their communities. Graduating from an MBA program in social entrepreneurship can also help to jump start a career in this exciting field.

Example: Working for (or Creating) Social Enterprise B Corporations

There are now over 400 companies in the US that are certified B Corporations across 54 industries. These social enterprise companies have grown to represent almost $2 billion dollars, and include well known brands like 7th Generation, Dansko, Method and King Arthur Flour.

B Corps are similar to traditional C Corps except that in their legal structure they have an added responsibility to employees, the environment, consumers and the community in addition to their shareholders. The B Corp charter requires the company to adhere to practices which benefit society. The movement continues to evolve and advance rapidly. In New York state recently legislation was passed that allowed for B Corps in the state. A company must pass a stringent 3rd party certification in order to become certified as a B Corp.

Skills for Social Entrepreneurs

Essential skills for social entrepreneurs involve a mix of managerial competencies that allow them to be successful in creating social value. These skills may differ significantly from those required for traditional business success, however. Based on detailed case studies and interviews with successful social entrepreneurs, key skills which were identified include networking, mentoring, fund raising, people management, being proactive and innovate, business training, environmental dynamics, social mission, sustainability and the ability to recognize opportunities.

In addition, there are four central themes to most social enterprises. These include a focus on job creation, volunteer support, helping those in need and utilizing buildings. All of these activities require significant entrepreneurial skills to carry out effectively. The ability to develop a network of relationships is one of the hallmarks of the most visionary and successful social entrepreneurs.

SocialEdge Review – Help for Aspiring Social Entrepreneurs

SocialEdge is a Skoll Foundation program which reflects Jeff Skoll’s passion for connecting those who share a passion for social enterprise. This global online community allows social entrepreneurs to connect with one another for the benefit of all, as they can network to increase knowledge and share resources to strengthen social enterprise worldwide.

SocialEdge is a program of the Skoll Foundation, but it is unconnected to the grant making programs of the Foundation. Therefore, participation in the SocialEdge community is not taken into account in the grant application and approval process. The opinions expressed in the SocialEdge forums may also differ from the official opinions of the Skoll Foundation. SocialEdge was launched in 2003 to foster discussion on cutting edge issues that are shaping the social enterprise field and foster dialog among leading social entrepreneurs.

More Resources: Review of Social Entrepreneurship Book

The The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook is a famous social entrepreneurship book by Rupert Scofield, the co founder and president of FINCA International. FINCA is a nonprofit institution that provides microfinancing to over 700,000 customers in more than 20 countries. Scofield shares a wealth of experience in the book which is based on his 40 year career as a social entrepreneur.

The guides readers through the process starting up and operating a successful nonprofit, with a wealth of personal stories and helpful advice on what to do and what not to do. These valuable lessons can help others to avoid some of the mistakes that Scofield had to learn the hard way. His message throughout the book is that while being a social entrepreneur involves some risk, it is not as difficult as many think.