How You Can Become a Social Entrepreneur
Many people are interested in the idea of social entrepreneurship and changing the world, but don’t know hot do do it. Here are 6 tips to help you bome a social entrepreneur:
1. Benefits of Nonprofit Work Experience
Young professionals may want to consider gaining nonprofit work experience for a variety of reasons. As public and nonprofit firms are playing a greater role in a variety of fields, the opportunities for recent graduates to gain experience and launch their careers with these firms has increased. The close client contact, high level of entrepreneurialism and quality of work experience available in the nonprofit sector make these positions highly desirable and competitive.
Many fellowship programs provide opportunities for young people to gain work experience at nonprofit firms in a variety of industries. One example is the Frederick P. Rose Architectural Fellowship, which is a national program which places graduates of architecture programs into design positions at local nonprofits for a 3 year period. In these positions the fellows are granted a high degree of entrepreneurial leverage to develop innovative projects.
2. Brand Differentiation for Social Enterprises
Brand differentiation for social enterprises involves effectively communicating their mission to all of their stakeholders. Because the mission of a social enterprise is the essence of their brand, this is more important than even your business message. The goal of marketing should be to communicate your mission to clients without jeopardizing your status as a social enterprise.
You should consider the different ways that you can help your audience to understand your mission and what is most important for your stakeholders to understand. It is important to communicate your brand in a way that upholds the ethos of your social enterprise in every aspect of your marketing. While a social enterprise should put the marketing of their own brand first, it can also be strengthened through association with the social enterprise community via a social enterprise mark.
3. Business Skills for Social Enterprise
The successful social entrepreneur understands how to use business skills to create social value. While a traditional entrepreneur thinks only in terms of profit, a social entrepreneur will seek results that impact society in a positive and profound way. They use strategic partnerships and innovation to tackle the root causes of social ills such as poverty and environmental pollution, and the social profit that they reap is measured in terms of both human and economic development.
Social entrepreneurs use gap analysis as a tool to measure and address the most pressing needs in their communities. They look for innovative ideas that can fill a unique niche and that can be scaled to create widespread impact in a community. Social entrepreneurship must also deal with similar risks to those in the business world, so success often requires a courageous and unconventional approach.
4. Hiring Employees for Social Enterprise
Hiring the best employees for your social enterprise is an important factor that can be critical to the success of your mission. People who desire a career with nonprofits tend to run the gamut from those who expect full market compensation to those who are willing to volunteer for no compensation.
Within this distribution, the majority of potential employees fall somewhere in between these extremes. While there are many specializations within the nonprofit sector, there are a relatively limited number of successful organizations within each sector. Therefore, word of mouth remains a major way of attracting talent to your organization. When you treat your current employees very well, you should not have any trounce attracting the best talent because your employees will serve as the best recruiters for your organization.
5. Transparency in Social Enterprise
Leaders in the social enterprise world have long been striving for greater public awareness of their ideas, but now that they are getting a larger share of the political spotlight in countries like the UK they must be up to meeting the challenge of transparency. It is important for social entrepreneurs to always stay vigilant in order to keep the discourse on social enterprise focused on social good, so that it doesn’t become distorted by political ambitions and infighting. The public continues to embrace the concept of social enterprise on its merits, but this could be set back significantly if it is perceived to be a partisan tool.
Fundamentally, social enterprise has been operating independently of government and it’s important that it should stay this way. Because social enterprise is such a diverse movement that spans industries, it involves a lot of complexity easily lead to confusion in public perception.
6. Corporate Partnerships for Social Enterprise
Corporate partnerships can offer a number of benefits for the social enterprise, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a big buzz word for corporations today. As more companies seek to bolster their public image by giving back to society through CSR initiatives, they are seeking nonprofit and social enterprise partners in a wide range of causes.
Many corporations today are actually allocating parts of their budget specifically to CSR, and this is great news for social entrepreneurs. Corporations may use their CSR budget in a variety of ways, including to purchase products from social enterprises. A good example of this is eCoexist, which is a for profit social enterprise in Pune, India that supplies environmentally friendly cloth bags, pens and folders made by community groups to corporate conferences and meetings.