Many may hear the term “Social Entrepreneurship” but many wonder what exactly it is. A typical entrepreneur is focused on building a business, making profit, providing value for the individual customer and solving a problem. So how does a social entrepreneur differ from a typical entrepreneur?
Lets look a tale of two vastly different types of social entrepreneurs and how despite what they actually do is different but the goal is the same.
Recognize the picture of the person above? He is Manoj Bhargava the founder of 5 Hour Energy. Second question: How is Manoj Bhargava a social entrepreneur? Despite reaching the status of being one of the richest men on the planet, in 2015 Manoj Bhargava donates 99% of his income to foundations that improve the life of people, whether it be ways to have cleaner water in remote areas, improvements in health and medicines, and cleaner greener ways to produce energy. Manoj Bhargava is quoted to have said “Anyone can come to one of my foundations and design whatever they want and there is only one condition: your invention must improve the life of people in some way”. Despite his enormous wealth, Manoj Bhargava uses his money to invest back into improving the community and the overall wellbeing of people.
Before you say “Oh yeah its easy if you are rich to just throw money around to help the community” but let me assure you that one does not need a ton of money to be a social entrepreneur.
One of the best examples of a social entrepreneur are barbers who give free haircuts to the homeless. I want to point out that many barbers do this in many different cities but for this blog I will focus on just one, but all barbers who give free haircuts to the homeless deserve credit.
The picture above is Brennan Jones a barber from Philadelphia. His story began when he wanted to do more for the homeless than give a few bucks here and there so he began giving the homeless free haircuts. A free haircut may not sound like much but for a struggling homeless person a free haircut is a boost in morale and self confidence.
The picture above shows a before and after look of a homeless person and the picture on the left shows us a more confident and high morale person.
But Brennan Jones’s story doesn’t end there. A fellow barber was impressed with what Brennan Jones was doing and offered his own barber shop for one day a week to Brennan Jones so he could give free haircuts to homeless and later the day for free haircuts for homeless turned into a hub for job recruiters and free meals, and lending suits for business interviews to help the homeless get back on their feet.
The simple action of giving free haircuts to the homeless turned into a mostly volunteer program to help the homeless boost their self confidence and morale and get back on their feet.
To reiterate: Typical entrepreneurship is about building a business, making a profit, solving a problem and providing value to an individual. On the other hand social entrepreneurship is about building a business/foundation that supports the community as a whole and just doesn’t solve one particular issue for an individual but rather a particular issue everyone is facing.
Manoj Bhargava and Brennan Jones are two different people with two different ideas on how to help the community but both share the common goal on how to help improve the community.
Be it your own brains or skills, or perhaps money and connections, anyone can become an social entrepreneur