In The News

Sun 22 Jan 2017

Social Entrepreneurship Insight: Key Trends to Watch in 2017


Business Consulting & Coaching

Social entrepreneurship is experiencing some exciting key trends to watch in 2017. What was once a difficult venture to pursue is becoming easier as access to valuable resources increases and as more consumers hold corporations socially responsible.

Let’s take a look at what exactly social entrepreneurship is, what defines a social enterprise, and what the key trends in social entrepreneurship are for 2017.

The Difference Between Charities and Social Enterprises

Some companies have attempted to tackle social problems through charities and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs but have fallen short. A few enterprises have abused their approach in CSR programs as well. There is a need for social entrepreneurship to help solve the social problems that the world faces today.

Social entrepreneurship addresses a need that isn’t being handled by the big institutions. Becoming a social entrepreneur involves delivering innovative solutions to societal problems in a financially viable manner. They aim to create a societal impact and have a societal mission statement. Social entrepreneurs look at growth in technology as an opportunity to find innovative ways to help society.

If you’re interested in becoming a social entrepreneur, then here are three key characteristics of a social enterprise:

  1. Makes a positive impact on society and/or the environment
  2. Is financially self-sustainable, meaning the business doesn’t need to rely on donations or subsidies.
  3. Fulfills its main objective via a service or product as an independent organisation

You are allowed to make a profit with a social enterprise, but you must make sure that:

  • Your financial goals support the company’s societal mission
  • The enterprise is transparent
  • You are environmentally-conscious
  • Dividends paid to shareholders are fair
  • The business model’s scalability increases impact
  • The company is fair to everyone
  • Policies and governance allow equal voting rights for all involved

Key Trends in Social Entrepreneurship 

1. Millennials Are Reshaping the Global Economy

Millennials are leading the way in social entrepreneurship as a generation that’s concerned with many social issues. Many millennials who start their own businesses do so with some sense of social responsibility and care for their impact on the environment, people, and world.

According to research conducted by Goldman Sachs, millennials are the largest generation from the past five decades to enter the market. Because their priorities and mindsets are different from previous generations, they will alter how business is conducted. Millennials are the generation that’s most willing to pay more for sustainable options, as reported by a Nielsen global online study. This generation will use social entrepreneurship to create the change they wish to see in the world.

2. The Way in Which Social Enterprises Are Funded Is Changing

A common struggle of social businesses is scaling into an international enterprise. Funding is one of the barriers to becoming an international social company. Gradually, more and more social enterprises are finding a way over this obstacle through different options in funding, namely impact investments and grants. Ryan Little, co-founder of Canada Helps and project manager at the BMW Foundation, predicts that within the next 5-10 years, insufficient funding will be a struggle of the past for social enterprises.

3. More Resources Are Becoming Available to Social Entrepreneurs

Another key trend in social entrepreneurship to watch in 2017 is the increase in available resources for social entrepreneurs. Organisations and other professionals that have been supporting social entrepreneurs are improving their academic methods and resources. In addition, more graduate programs are offering social innovation and social entrepreneurship programs in response to rising demand.

4. Social Platforms for Social Entrepreneurs Are Multiplying

An increasing number of social platforms for social entrepreneurs are developing. Many social entrepreneurs crave connections with each other, and various networks and organizations are stepping up to meet this need. With these platforms, social entrepreneurs can find support from like-minded individuals. They will also have more networking opportunities and people to collaborate with for new ideas for social enterprise.

Social entrepreneurship has entered the mainstream and continues to grow as an increasing number of consumers care about where their belongings come from. People are beginning to care about the employees that built the product for them. Due to increasing demand from consumers, social entrepreneurship is able to more easily prosper and spread. Some entrepreneurs predict that social entrepreneurship will become the norm within the next decade.

The key trends that we are seeing in social entrepreneurship, as listed above, certainly point the field in that direction.


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