The age of social enterprise?

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Theory and Practice of social entrepreneurship are both growing rapidly and attracting increasing attention from a number of different domains, such as non-profits, for-profits, as well as the public sector. Social entrepreneurship differs from traditional understanding of business entrepreneurship or non-profit organizations.

Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices.

A social enterprise is an organisation that exists for a social purpose and engages in trading to fulfill its mission, using market-based techniques to achieve social ends. Emerging from a non-profit background, the social enterprise is a renewed, rather than new concept, involving ‘business as an instrument for social development’

Social entrepreneurship is a new, emerging field challenged by competing definitions and conceptual frameworks, gaps in the research literature, and limited empirical data.

Social entrepreneurship is helping to bring about a productivity miracle.

The social entrepreneur should be understood as someone who targets an unfortunate but stable equilibrium that causes the neglect, marginalisation, or suffering of a segment of humanity; who brings to bear on this situation his or her inspiration, direct action, creativity, courage, and fortitude; and who aims for and ultimately affects the establishment of a new stable equilibrium that secures permanent benefit for the targeted group and society at large.

For all the schools of thought, the explicit aim of social entrepreneurship and social enterprises is to benefit the community or the creation of ‘social value’, rather than the distribution of profit. The social impact on the community is not just a consequence or a side-effect of the economic activity but it is the key motive of the latter.

 

–Hamza Ahmad

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