The New Social Entrepreneur

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Recently, I’ve had several inquiries about what exactly “Social Entrepreneurship” means, so it’s time to look at the new paradigm of meaningful livelihood. 

People frequently equate social entrepreneurship with non profits or charitable organizations but the new model is more focused on the desire to drive change. 

“Cause marketing”, a trend in the 90s, has been replaced by green marketing in the past decade of environmental consciousness. Unlike today’s social change driven entrepreneur, those earlier models were often charitable as an afterthought or a show of goodwill.  Rather than the idea of amassing a fortune before a business begins making contributions,  today’s altruistic change agents are designing businesses as a vehicle for making social change. 

A broad definition of social entrepreneurship would be creating a business venture for the purpose of facilitating common good. 

The most frequent criteria that I hear from private clients is that their new career must have more meaning. They want to not only do work they enjoy and make a nice living but feel good about the impact they can make. 

What do you feel so strongly about that you feel driven to make an impact on?  What pulls at your heartstrings or feels to you like a terrible injustice? Is there something you wish you could do to help others, a purpose that nags at you to address? Most of us have at least one social issue that we feel particularly drawn to work toward improving. What’s yours? What do you believe it is your purpose to try to make a difference in?

If you are like most aspiring entrepreneurs searching for meaning, rather than asking yourself how what you love to do can make a difference in the world, try turning the question around. Ask yourself what it is you want to make a difference in and then look at how you can use your interests, skills and talents to develop a business that helps facilitate that change. As always your ideas and comments are welcome and appreciated and maybe we can all come up with suggestions for how you can be an agent for the change you wish to see in your community or the world. 

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