Social entrepreneurship is all about recognizing social problems and achieving a social change by employing entrepreneurial principles, processes, and operations. It is about using research to completely define a particular social problem and then organizing, creating, and managing a social venture to attain the desired change. The change may or may not include a thorough elimination of a social problem, rather, it may be a lifetime process focusing on the improvement of existing circumstances.
There are numerous organizations like this operating worldwide known as social enterprises. A social enterprise is just like any other business. However, what makes it a business on a human scale is the way that profit is used. Usually, the profit is used to fulfill a social mission. Social enterprises do not exist to grow the wealth of the investors or shareholders, nor are they a nonprofit. On the contrary, they exist to contribute to social equality and improve peoples’ living conditions. Generated profit is reinvested in the business or in achieving social goals like job creation, meeting cultural needs, healthcare, and preservation of the environment.
But is social entrepreneurship and are social enterprises (SEE) really solving systemic social problems?
According to Stanford Social Innovation Review ( 2018), “SEE’s rise distracts from and undermines the critical role of an organized citizenry, political action, and democratic government in achieving systemic social change, by offering itself as a private, market-based alternative. SEE’s are founded on neoliberal ideology: a belief that markets, not governments, produce the best social and economic outcomes.
SEE advocates construct social problems as knowledge problems that can be solved by technical innovation driven by competition among individual social entrepreneurs, operating through for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid enterprises.”
The concept of social entrepreneurship has undoubtedly raised a lot of voices lately.