The benefactor is already in the name ‘Social Entrepreneurs’: it’s here to help the society and everyone and everything in it and the entrepreneurs themselves. Anyone can benefit from social entrepreneurship, but mostly social enterprises work in under-represented fields and industries and help people who have restricted access to resources, skills and help in every day life. You can help your neighbourhood, your area, city, country or go global and help people in the societies the world over. Our world has never been as small as it is today, and possibilities for making social contributions in societies on the other side of the world are commonplace today.
Benefits for the Society
- Sustainable environmental development
- Poverty reduction
- Medical and health care
- Social deprivation and isolation
- Infrastructure and building
Particularly people from science and engineering background can have a great deal to offer in these sectors to provide novel and inexpensive solutions to massive problems that plague not only the developing countries but are ever more present in the developed countries as well. It is however important to remember that interdisciplinary co-operation between engineers and scientists and people from humanities, arts and social sciences for instance is equally important as the development of new equipment and technologies. Fostering and supporting co-operation across disciplinary lines is particularly important in the Social Entrepreneurship sector and can create solutions to problems not discovered with conventional research and business methods.
The societies are constantly changing and old models for providing services and support may no longer be possible, or they have never even existed in some societies, which is why it is important to become more innovative and think of new ways to support different groups of people today. Here is where everyone can make great contributions, big or small.
Benefits for the Entrepreneur
Social entrepreneurship offers people the alternative to become their own bosses and work for something they have a passion for and believe in. It was discussed in the workshop that especially for women it seems to be rather important to be able to use their skills and work for something they believe in rather than making money. It allows for fulfilment of personal and professional goals.
It is widely recognised that women do not have the same opportunities as men do in employment and statistics themselves are enough to prove this point, when men advance in their careers faster and higher than many women do. Skills of women however do not differ from those of men in any way, men are simply given opportunities easier than their female counterparts in companies.
Thinking this from the company’s perspective it is understandable that it is easier for them to hire and give promotions to men as women do after all burden the company more when they are having children and forming a family. However, despite this being unacceptable the attitudes in employment do not change as fast as the needs of the population. This is why many women struggle to restart their careers after having children and social entrepreneurship could be an option for more women dealing with these choices in their lives. From a social perspective it is also wasteful to not support women to put their education into use and develop their skills at work.
Self-employment does offer people a chance to have a more balance in their professional and personal lives, use their education and experiences to employ themselves, and advance the causes they believe in. Social entrepreneurship opens the door for fulfilling all of the above goals and is highly demanded in our societies at the moment, thus offering infinite possibilities for people with various skills sets.
Hooked already? That great inspiration already bubbling inside you, but don’t quite know how to get started? Take a look at the following section on support mechanisms for social entrepreneurs. The following article will also deal with the gaps that were identified in support for entrepreneurs, and hopefully this will help you better navigate your options.