Why do we need social entrepreneurship? Well, why do we need entrepreneurship in the first place? It’s innovation and creativity at its best. Entrepreneurship is someone taking an idea that’s never been put into action and saying, I’m going to run with this idea. Entrepreneurship is daring and bold and inspires others to think outside of the box and ask questions like no one has asked before. So, why social entrepreneurship? I think it’s obvious!
Social issues have been around since the beginning of time. There will always be unemployment; there will always be homelessness; there will always be someone benefitting off the suffering of others. That sounds like a market to me. But instead of aiming to just make money, social enterprises aim to make a social difference. They ask why prior tactics have not fixed the issues and instead of creating a typical solution, they create a new approach that gets to the heart of the problem. J.F.K. said to ask what you could do for your country, and social entrepreneurs are doing just that. They are asking questions. And they’re not stopping until the can give an answer that’s never been given. These talented thinkers push us all to view our world in a different way and to not give up when traditional methods don’t work.
I’ve been in Detroit 2 weeks now and there are social entrepreneurs all around! I am a bit biased, but I think the social enterprise I am interning for this summer is doing amazing things. Not only does Detroit Food Academy provide a safe, welcoming environment for kids afterschool, but it gives them marketable skills to launch themselves into the real world. DFA isn’t putting a band-aid on the issue, it’s transforming students into people who can create their own solutions. Ultimately I think that’s a good SE.
This weekend at the Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, they talked a lot about sustainability. Can you keep yourself afloat without grants and donations? I think social entrepreneurship is bigger than that. Not only do these enterprises aim to make profit, but they aim to produce citizens who ask those necessary questions and push the limits beyond status quo. Social entrepreneurs are creating social change, a social transformation, that will persist long after their absence.