Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise 07/24

The Equity | Impact Center is an example of social entrepreneurship because it lives up to the social mission that it set, which is to help advance social justice missions by giving leadership and general development support programs to areas with societal inequities. They create value to their community through programs like the The Transformative Leader Award Program, where they host a 8 month leadership program for leaders in the community who show strength in social justice. It helps to support leaders in the community by giving them the opportunity to talk with other leaders about issues and grow their skills in their sector. They also have the SCALE Fellowship Program, where they support Black, female musicians by giving them “individualized artist development and [an] entrepreneurial skill-building curriculum.” They have a very large social impact on the community, as they are directly investing in the people in the community by supporting leaders who will be also be able to make an impact in the community. Since they are a nonprofit, their primary means of generating income is through donations and other fundraising means. One advantage of this is that it is having a positive impact on society and that it is helping others largely. Most social entrepreneurs do so because it is a way to help society on a large scale and improve the lives of others. One disadvantage of social entrepreneurship is that it usually does not turn as large of a profit as regular entrepreneurship, because it has a different goal. Social entrepreneurship focuses on helping society first, and while it is still a business, so it tries to turn a profit, puts their social mission as the value offered. The downside to that if a fundraiser is unsuccessful or donations are smaller than usual, your profits will be less, and there will be less money for the entrepreneur.

An example of a social enterprise is Warby Parker, an enterprise which sells eyeglasses, but gives a pair of glasses for each pair that’s bought. Its mission is to provide glasses to people around the world who are not able to learn or work due to the fact that they cannot see. Warby Parker does this by employing a model where they either hire people to give eye exams to the area where they want to sell the glasses at a low price, or directly providing eye care and glasses to people who don’t have access to glasses. They have given glasses to 50+ countries, including many countries in Latin America and Africa. One advantage of Warby Parker is that since most of the glasses it gives are sold, it turns a larger profit than just donating the glasses. Since it sells them at an affordable price, they are still meeting their social goal, but they are also able to turn a profit compared to nonprofits and some other examples of social enterprises. One disadvantage of the business is that they are partnered with the company VisionSpring. Their partnership is beneficial because it allows them to reach out to a wider base internationally and administer eye exams. At the same time, this partnership means that they have to split the profits from the glasses with VisionSpring. They are losing some of their profit due to the partnership.

The most interesting part of social entrepreneurship to me is the means of raising funds which is primarily through fundraisers and donations. To gain these donations, the business needs to meet a social goal which gives people an incentive to donate to them, whether that is connecting with their community or providing a larger social impact to the world. Additionally, the marketers need to do a good job in marketing the business to donators. To be an entrepreneur, it is necessary to have skills that can help the business get off its legs, and as a nonprofit, the skills necessary are different from a normal business. Social entrepreneurs from a financial and marketing perspective need skills which will allow them to fit their social goal while also being financially smart enough to be able to grow the business.