Communities across the world are facing numerous challenges today, from racial injustice to climate change to economic inequality and, of course, the coronavirus. Do you have a sustainable idea that can address one of these issues? Why not start a social enterprise – an organization that uses business methods to achieve a social or environmental mission?
Social entrepreneurs are crucial to solving some of society’s most pressing issues. As Schwab and Milligan of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship explain in their article, “What is a social entrepreneur?”, social entrepreneurs are innovative, open to learning, and driven by values. These characteristics uniquely position social entrepreneurs to address the challenges we are facing today. In fact, Kyle Westaway, Harvard Law School lecturer and contributor to Forbes among other publications, tweeted a month ago on September 16, 2020 that, “We need social entrepreneurs now more than ever.”
However, as we discussed in a previous blog post, social entrepreneurs face momentous obstacles, especially in the early stages of starting their enterprises. With this in mind, the World Economic Forum created the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs. The goal of the alliance is to “raise awareness of the vital role these front-line entrepreneurs play and to mobilize greater support for them.”
Additionally, the Inclusive Economy Consortium, a interdisciplinary network of diverse stakeholders dedicated to creating a climate-smart, inclusive economy, in partnership with the Hunt Institute’s Social Enterprise Program, has put together a toolbox of resources to support social entrepreneurs in starting and scaling their enterprises. The toolbox has links that can assist social entrepreneurs with creating a business plan, getting access to funding, or obtaining legal advice.
The Hunt Institute recognizes the importance of social entrepreneurs and seeks to support their efforts. If you are a current or aspiring social entrepreneur, check out the toolbox and let us know in the comments what resources you find helpful. If you know of any other useful resources, please share as well.
To learn more about the Social Enterprise Program, visit smu.edu/socialenterprise. For more case studies and examples, stay tuned to the Hunt Institute Digest.
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