There was once a time when entrepreneurs were simply considered to be single-minded individuals that saw everything through the lens of profitability. Think of an idea, draft a plan, raise capital, and scale up profits and revenues for all shareholders- these were the tenets of entrepreneurship and start-up culture that have led to the rise of many corporate giants, brands and companies globally.
But there’s been a certain shift in the trend, so to speak, in recent times. Driven by the millennial mentality of creating a positive impact in the world, successful entrepreneurs today are those who go one step ahead: they combine profitability with social problem solving and value creation.
So, what is this new business model that everyone wants to adopt and why? Let’s take a look.
Who is a Social Entrepreneur?
A social entrepreneur is one who essentially does business for a good cause, and may combine it with profitability. In such a model, entrepreneurs may finance different programs, carry out social work at the grassroots level, or collaborate with private, public or government entities for change. This model is being championed by many social entrepreneurs who have grown as leaders and are conscious about issues like climate change, financial disparity, hunger, education, etc.
In many ways, a lot of established and empowering men leaders and new-age women leaders are steadily shifting their gaze toward the social entrepreneurship model in India and the world. The prevalent belief is that not only is such a model the need of the hour to progress and evolve our society but is also aligned with the sensibilities of the younger generations who will be the consumers of tomorrow.
In India, social entrepreneurs like Urvashi Sahni, whose Study Hall Education Foundation provides education to over 1.5 lakh disadvantaged girls, or Harish Hande, whose Selco is providing sustainable energy in India’s rural areas, have emerged as viable models in recent times.
And it’s not just these pure social entrepreneurs who are making a difference. Famous corporate leaders and established brand veterans from various industries have also proven to be in touch with social entrepreneurship, especially given the way they stepped up to aid the communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
For example, global fintech leader Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv, has led the Bajaj Group’s efforts in not just relief work but also propagating the vision of a financially self-reliant India. His focus on ramping up digital transformation in the financial services sector and making consumer loans and finance readily available for the masses has enabled millions to deal with economic hardships and realise their aspirations.
Thus, by being consumer-centric, the social entrepreneurship model provides a refreshing, solution-oriented approach to modern-day issues, involves the community in its initiatives, and builds a loyal audience.
The skillset that business people need to be successful social entrepreneurs includes:
- Inspirational leadership
- Emotional maturity
- Vision for sustainability
- Transparent decision-making
- Collaborative mindset
Why are successful entrepreneurs adopting social entrepreneurship?
- Discovery of life purpose
Successful entrepreneurs feel that social entrepreneurship allows them to live their life’s purpose to make a real difference in the world. Such a model bridges the gap between a business’s vision and its services, translating the values and ethics into real-life models of social change.
- Provides motivation to do good
Social entrepreneurship goes beyond just the thrill of earning profits to positively impacting people and their lives. By solving real world problems, it provides leaders with the affirmation and encouragement to keep exploring ideas that give back to the society and establish a positive brand narrative.
- Brings satisfaction and contentment
For many leaders, the joy of business is no longer just in the financial numbers. At the end of the day, it is the number of people impacted and number of issues solved that brings them satisfaction at work. Through the results of their social entrepreneurship model, leaders feel that their efforts are worthwhile.
- Enables one to empower others
Social entrepreneurship fuels collaboration and partnerships at a whole new level, as businesses, governments and people come together to learn, invent, and solve problems. Thus, it opens avenues for learning and empowerment, and chalks out a way forward for younger generations to emerge as better citizens of the world. For anyone who wants to follow the footsteps of the best empowering leader of their times, this is a great opportunity.
- Aligned with the modern and future consumer thinking
Gen Z and millennials are the era-defining generations at present who have developed a great consciousness toward issues like sustainability, climate change, pollution, renewables, and various social causes. If they don’t witness the brands that they follow show a similar level of commitment, then such businesses stand to lose their footing in the industry. This makes social entrepreneurship highly customer-centric.
With the rise in social entrepreneurship so evident, we can say for certain that this is not just another trend but a huge paradigm shift in how the economy functions. Businesses and leaders that adopt the social entrepreneurship model have kick-started a major shift in priorities from pure capitalistic thinking to a more sustainable vision. As it unfolds in the coming decades, social entrepreneurship has the power to innovate and change the world in ways we haven’t imagined yet.
On the back of the pandemic and the rising global issues, the social entrepreneurship model has staked a claim as a new-age, innovative and effective business model that goes beyond profitability. But is it more than just a trend? If new age business leaders are to be believed, then yes. Driven by the shift in consumer mentality and new challenges that the world faces on a social and global level, many entrepreneurs are favouring the social entrepreneurship model to create positive impact, solve issues, collaborate with governments, programs and public on an unprecedented scale, and drive sustainable profits. This blog takes a look at this paradigm shift in closer detail.