Social entrepreneurship, unlike the concept of entrepreneurship, which we all know, is an activity that aims to bring solutions to social problems in the long term with a creative and dynamic business model by keeping financial concerns in the background.
Social entrepreneurship, which is seen as the “business model of the future” by professionals today and has been spoken frequently in recent years, aims to transform societies with innovative methods and approaches to solve social problems.
Social entrepreneurship, just like commercial entrepreneurship, is based on seeing problems that others cannot see, creating new opportunities, changing systems, finding new solutions, but unlike business entrepreneurs who aim to maximize profit, social entrepreneurs maximize the social benefit they create while optimizing their profits.
What is social entrepreneurship?
It is the type of entrepreneurship where commercial activities are used to achieve a social purpose and this income is spent on the relevant social goal. Its difference from the general term of entrepreneurship is that it focuses on making an impact by solving a social problem and using resources and income correctly for this purpose.
In business-focused entrepreneurship, taking risks, being innovative and creating profit-oriented value stand out. However, social entrepreneurship contains profit and social benefit together; Instead of original ideas and creative inventions, the benefits of the project to the society are taken into consideration. As it is known, in commercial entrepreneurship, it is important that the idea has not been tried and implemented before; This is why it is aimed to ‘make a difference’. In social entrepreneurship, it is not worthwhile whether an idea has been implemented before or not, it is a matter of question which problem can be solved with the relevant ideas.
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Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), who revolutionized knowledge creation and access to information practices, Mohammed Yunus (Grameen), who demolished the judgment that poor people will not repay their debts, or Paul Rice (Fairtrade), who made international trade fairer by bringing small producers and conscious consumers together, good examples for social entrepreneurs.
Social entrepreneurs make a difference in many areas from education to agriculture, from women’s employment to ecology in the world. Social entrepreneurs bring water to people who cannot find drinking water, and provide employment for people who are not given job opportunities. They provide equality of opportunity by completing the aspects of society that should not be lacking, and they endeavor to make the world livable not only for those who have the means but for everyone.
In order to understand what distinguishes the two groups of entrepreneurs from each other, it is important to eliminate the idea that the difference is simply associated with entrepreneurs with money for motivation and social entrepreneurs with altruism. The truth is that entrepreneurs are rarely motivated by the returns of a financial gain, because the possibility of making a lot of money clearly prevents entrepreneurs. Instead, both entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs are strongly motivated by the opportunities they identify, maintain this vision tirelessly, and gain significant spiritual gain from the process in which they bring their ideas to life. Regardless of whether they operate in a particular market or a nonprofit business, many entrepreneurs never take the risk of the time they spend on the venture,
I think that the critical difference between entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship is due to the value proposition. The value proposition for the entrepreneur predicts the markets that can easily meet a new product or service and is organized to serve these markets; therefore it is designed to generate financial profit. The expectation that has been accepted from the very beginning is that the entrepreneur and its investors will make a financial profit. Profit is the absolute condition in this context and a key element in terms of the sustainability of the enterprise, large-scale market acceptance and, consequently, a new equilibrium.
However, the social entrepreneur does not forecast large amounts of financial profit for himself or his own investors, which are usually charitable organizations and government agencies, or do not organize the market accordingly. Instead, the social entrepreneur seeks to create large-scale value and transformational benefit for a significant segment or all of society. Unlike the entrepreneurial value proposition, which accepts a market that can meet the materiality of innovation and can provide an important advantage for investors, the social entrepreneur’s value proposition targets the segment of the society that is wronged, ignored or damaged, lacking financial opportunities and political benefits to realize the transformation process on their own.
Startups launched by social entrepreneurs certainly generate income and can be organized as non-profit or profit-making activities. What distinguishes social entrepreneurship from the other is that “task-related influence” is the key to the groundbreaking work.
We define social entrepreneurship as the presence of the following three elements:
- Identifying the difficulties faced by a group that lacks financial or political benefits to achieve a stable but inherently unjust balance or a transformational process that leads to exclusion and marginalization; (2) to identify an opportunity in this unfair balance, to create a social value proposition, to combat the domination of the stable state by showing inspiration, creativity, direct action, courage and endurance; and (3) that unleashes blocked potential or alleviates the distress of the target group and to establish a new and stable balance that guarantees a better future for the target group and all segments of society by imitating and creating a stable ecosystem within the framework of the balance.
Entrepreneurship, which has been excluded for a long time by economists who are interested in market-based and price-oriented models and are subject to data-oriented interpretation, has started to attract attention again in recent years.
We think serious thinkers also underestimate social entrepreneurship, and we worry that the haphazard use of the term will diminish the meaning of the concept and the emphasis placed on those trying to understand how societies are changing and progressing. In our opinion, social entrepreneurship is as necessary as entrepreneurship for the development of economies for the development of societies and its foundations are much more solid. Within the framework of these issues, the concept has received the most intense attention ever.