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Entrepreneurs see a problem the markets have yet to solve and take matters into their own hands. The bigger the problem, the more people are willing to pay to have someone solve it.
For this reason, entrepreneurs are better seen as problem-solvers rather than mere producers of money. Former entrepreneurs turned strollers into cars and landlines into cell phones – those same transformations are happening today, and business leaders must adopt a problem-solving mindset to reach that level of potential.
Social entrepreneurship takes place when individuals, organizations, or businesses create solutions to solve social problems. This can take place in a not-for-profit organization, or as part of a for-profit business.
What makes a social entrepreneur different than a traditional entrepreneur is their desire to create positive change in the community. A restaurant that employs at-risk youth to work in their kitchen would be considered a social enterprise, as would a yoga teacher providing pay-as-you-can classes in a lower-income neighborhood.
Living in these tumultuous times, we encounter things going wrong every minute. New problems are brought to light and some old ones just keep evolving defeating the purpose of our well-thought-out solutions.
Some communities are ridden with poverty, and disease, some just are struggling with power shortages. Unemployment is fast becoming the order of the day and climate change is constantly triggering natural disasters. Yes, from the miniature problems to the ones we find life-threatening, when action is not done things can only get worse.
These different growing issues threatening the well-being of our communities require solutions that can be improved upon as well as effective enough to neutralize.
It may sound simple when stated that way, but it can often be hard to see problems for opportunities. We’ll explore excellent tips to improve your ability to do that.
So, read on to learn why solving social problems works best with an entrepreneurial mindset.
What is Social Entrepreneurship?
In this article, we propose a definition of Social Entrepreneurship as ‘using profit-making enterprises to address social, environmental, and other problems that were traditionally entrusted to governmental and non-profit organizations.’
“Social entrepreneurship is an emerging alternative to governmental and non-profit approaches to social problems. Social entrepreneurs look at the ‘triple bottom line’ of people, planet, and profit. They aim to achieve both a return on investment and a return to society and address social problems effectively where others have not.” (Source: Stephen Betts, William Patterson University)
Prerequisites for Entrepreneurship
Generally, entrepreneurship is usually defined as the act of creating a business, building, and scaling it to generate a profit. It entails the willingness and capacity of organizing, managing, and assuming the risks of a business.
With it comes a capacity for innovation, investment, and extraction of value. With plenty more pros than its cons, it is the best thing to have happened to humanity after science in this era. With uncountable enterprises being erected by entrepreneurs in different sectors, solutions are being found and implemented regularly to the different social and economic problems infesting our communities.
Every entrepreneur possesses a problem-solving mindset, always looking for a new and more sustainable way to do things even in the process of generating income. They carry the burden of risk with the belief that big problems also require a big leap of action for the solution to be found. Contrary to what many might want to believe entrepreneurship is less of working with a blank canvas just being creative.
It’s more of being an observer, assessing your surroundings, identifying issues that need solving, and aiming to be a solution provider. There is a sense of responsibility one must carry, that feeling of ownership where you believe it is you who can create the change and not only wait for the next person to do it for you.
Solving Problems with An Entrepreneurial Mindset
In many ways, entrepreneurship has been solving our community problems and it continues to do so. Identifying community issues as opportunities to create and be innovative has become a pathway for savvy entrepreneurs to turn passion into cash.
This culture of innovation has led to plenty of creative ideas being put into play to provide better services for our communities. We can talk about the magic of Uber and how convenient it is for the user. This started as another transport problem that a bright mind identified and took the responsibility of solving.
One of the ways that entrepreneurship can be used to solve community problems is by the continued rise of better service providers, innovators, people who are stifling out inconveniences, and creating better sustainable ways of doing things. We can speak of how different social media platforms are helping to create a more globalized society, easier communication and it is all thanks to entrepreneurship.
Unemployment has become a major issue in all communities globally, not only in developing societies but even in well-balanced ones. With lack of employment, many problems come as a result. Think about a lot of the youths just being idle after finishing school. With no way to tend for themselves, we see the rise in crime rate and drug abuse in some communities.
Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of private enterprises being opened which will, in turn, offer employment opportunities in such areas, in turn, decreasing the number of people on the streets. Approximately 75% percent of the population of most communities are people who have benefited from entrepreneurship when it comes to getting jobs, be it by working for an enterprise that is a product of entrepreneurship or by them freelancing and being self-employed.
Below are five characteristics that illustrate why an entrepreneurial mindset is best poised to solve social problems.
Entrepreneurial Ideas Challenge Tradition
Social entrepreneurs are always looking outside the box. Forget what has already been done – they are looking for new ideas. Social entrepreneurs know that the best ideas often start by trying something that has never been attempted. The founders of SIRUM wanted to help Americans have access to the medications they could not afford. By sourcing unused pharmaceuticals from donors, they have redistributed over $112 million worth of medicine to those who would otherwise go without.
Combines Innovation with Market Intelligence
Combining innovative ideas with their knowledge of the market, social entrepreneurs can come up with creative responses to social problems. Having information on market trends, competition, and demand, allows social entrepreneurs to best respond to customer needs, while at the same time benefitting the community. The creators of Eat Offbeat knew that New Yorkers wanted to experience authentic cuisine from around the world. They were able to provide jobs to refugees from different countries who then created delicacies from their home country to sell.
Entrepreneurial Thinking Observes Humility
A key attribute that social entrepreneurs have is humility. Being able to accept feedback and criticism allows social entrepreneurs to learn from others in their quest to solve problems. A willingness to make mistakes, to fail, and to keep trying is vital for those attempting to conquer community issues. Practicing humility can mean admitting that others know more than you, and seeking out those people to help you achieve your goals.
Entrepreneurs Embrace Risk and Failure
Entrepreneurship is almost synonymous with risk-taking, and for many, the payoff is considerable. Social entrepreneurs who are willing to not only accept the possibility of failure but embrace it, are more likely to succeed in the end. Learning from our mistakes is valuable and entrepreneurs who are willing to try what hasn’t been done before will reap the benefits. Entrepreneurs don’t look at failure as a stumbling block, but rather as a stepping stone. Failure teaches you what you need to change in order to succeed.
There’s Magic in Thinking BIG
Solving social problems requires thinking big and trying unique solutions. What others have dismissed as unattainable, social entrepreneurs embrace as a possibility. Social entrepreneurs know how to take an idea and turn it into a vision and then a reality. Thinking big means imagining something exceptional and believing it is possible. While others may hesitate to entertain ambitious goals, social entrepreneurs know it is these big ideas that lead to success.
Entrepreneurship creates an ecosystem that when the concept is fostered it provides a strong breeding ground for innovation. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are defined as a set of interdependent actors and factors coordinated in such a way that they enable productive entrepreneurship within a particular territory.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem has nine elements or framework conditions in every territory or country, playing a role of catalyst for entrepreneurial activities. These are:
- Entrepreneurial Finance
- Government Policy
- Government Entrepreneurship Programs
- Entrepreneurship Education
- Research & Development Transfer
- Commercial & Legal Infrastructure
- Market Openness
- Physical Infrastructure
- Cultural & Social Norms
The self-directed nature to find a way to survive makes people financially sustainable. In the process, it decreases the effects of extreme poverty on most communities as more people will be able to afford basic living expenses.
Entrepreneurship is not only providing jobs but also specialty and custom, sustainable goods, and services to consumers with consumer satisfaction being their priority. This gives a chance for services to be provided at more affordable prices as the small enterprises usually treasure the comfort of the consumer.
Better service and goods are provided as the solution is crafted from first identifying the problem and blending different concepts to create a new strategy. There is an opportunity for new markets being developed which is beneficial to the community.
Entrepreneurship is powering most of the economies as it is critical for the growth of every economy. Products and services offered by entrepreneurs can stimulate related businesses to support their venture, furthering economic development.
In such an era as this, the ability to be adaptive and dynamic is a survival skill everyone should have. Entrepreneurship is providing a change of perspective and approach to how the world works, innovation becoming the order of the day as our thoughts and actions become elevated.
Merging business with sustainability and solutions to community problems, that is the future.
Related: 12 Reasons I Believe Entrepreneurship Can Solve The World’s Problems
Entrepreneurship is a way of helping people and solving societal issues as well as a way of earning money. Successful entrepreneurs have the potential to earn huge incomes but to be an entrepreneur you need to have solved a problem or improved upon something somehow.
Because social change is so greatly dependent on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship can result in financial wealth, you cannot say it is either, rather it is both. Entrepreneurship is a good way to earn money while solving society’s problems.
You don’t have to be an experienced business person to know that the world is full of problems waiting to be solved. Entrepreneurs need a minimum of simple awareness to see that ideas are everywhere, waiting to be transformed into business solutions. What matters is who acts first, who goes fastest, and who produces the best results.