What is a social entrepreneur? It is a person who thinks of innovative ideas to solve social problems. A social entrepreneur is someone who wants to make a social impact with their business. What do you need to do to become a social entrepreneur?
Identify the problem you would like to solve
The first step to being a social entrepreneur is to identify the social problem which you want to solve. You need to be very specific about what you want to solve with the problem you have identified. It is important that the problem is close to your heart as this will give you the drive to continue when you really feel like giving up. When you have identified the problem it is important to write down how you will solve this problem. This will become your mission statement.
Your mission statement should be able to answer the following questions:
- What does your social business do?
- How does your social business do it?
- Why does your social business do it?
Find your community
It is important to become a member of the community whose problem you are trying to solve as they will hopefully become the early adopters of your solution. They will also be able to test your product and advise you on how you can improve it.
Furthermore, they will let you know what the true problem is and what solution they need you to produce. You can also look at big businesses who can partner with you to get your idea off the ground.
You can finance your business through various ways. Here are some impact investment opportunities to look into:
- Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)
- GSG Impact Investing
- Impact management project
- African venture philanthropy network
These different programmes will invest in a business which impacts the society in a positive way. Take note though they are not interested in companies who have attached a social impact programme on to their business just so they can receive an investment.
When you start your business it is important to start small and local and work the kinks out of your social business model. During this period, it is important to be agile and move with opportunities which are lucrative in their impact and profits and remove opportunities which are draining your impact and resources. When you have a workable model, you can consider scaling up. This is when your local social enterprise becomes a global movement.
Never give up
There will often be naysayers and people who will try to guide you off your path of social entrepreneurship but you must not let them get to you. Always listen to advice but measure it against what you know. If it challenges your ideas, then think about them logically. It is important to have a balance of emotions and logic when it comes to evaluating the ideas or suggestions people give you.
Social entrepreneurship has a lot of challenges and may be even tougher than just being an entrepreneur because of the amount of heart that is put into your business. But keep at and know that you are working to improve the world for the next generation.
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