In social sector parlance, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship are different things, and not necessarily related to each other. Social entrepreneurship, which has been around longer than the first social enterprise, is about finding and implementing creative and sustainable solutions for social, cultural or environmental problems. Social entrepreneurs are problem-solvers, visionaries. Many run social enterprises.
What is a social enterprise? This is an important question, and industry insiders have refused to tighten the loose definition of the term, for good reason. A social enterprise is a business that sells a product or service, and has clearly stated aims toward social change. Social enterprises may or may not be in business for profit; even if they are, profit is never a primary goal. Income from the sale of the enterprise’s products or services is put into changemaking activities, and to meet the costs of running the enterprise. In India, thousands of organizations can be clustered under this description, of which a majority choose to describe themselves as NGOs or NPOs.
How social crowdfunding helps
With growing numbers of socially conscious young people in the country setting up their own small entrepreneurial ventures, a stage is being prepared for revolutionary shifts in the social landscape. In a happy coincidence, social crowdfunding in India is going places at this time, and a lot of social enterprise ventures are finding it possible to locate investment in this way.
Some are opting to work at social enterprises. Those who are contributing their labor to the sector, as employees or volunteers, also have in common the drive to bring change, high awareness, and the skills to move great bodies of people to participate in changemaking.
In a nutshell, this is why you should consider working at a social enterprise at some point in your life. Through the work you do, you directly impact your community. You help others get involved in reshaping the way society works. You enable countless people to give back. Let’s break this down.
- A social enterprise job lets you work for your community. Whether you work at a hospital or for a women’s shelter, whether you cook meals for a hundred children or design a budget for a vocational training center, your work positively affects people. There is no perk that gives as much job satisfaction as this knowledge.
- You get to be creative. More often than not, a social enterprise job will involve writing, graphic design, micro-management tasks, admin, event-planning, fundraising, and more. Often, you’ll have to do much with a small budget, and make spending decisions that challenge your priorities and encourage you to be inventive.
- You will learn to multitask expertly. Since most social enterprises only hire the minimum number of people needed to run, everyone has to stretch their core skills set and be flexible. Social enterprises are great places to build new skills on the job, perfect time-management, and become comfortable with large workloads shared by few people.
- Career growth is quicker at social enterprises. This is because there is always a great deal to be done, and a person who steps up and takes responsibility has the chance to take their career ahead faster than in traditional corporate settings.
Take a moment to think about this. A social enterprise job might pay less, in the early days, but the life lessons you learn are invaluable. Give it a shot sooner than later, and watch your work change lives. To stay involved, consider donating to social crowdfunding campaigns hosted by prominent Indian crowdfunding platforms like Impact Guru, to support the founding of more enterprises committed to make a difference.