Where do we have to draw the line?

Veröffentlicht: April 23, 2012 von Ms. Monday Jana in Know How
Schlagwörter:, , , , , , , , ,

Source: http://www.plakatmania.de/

The fact that there are so many completely different kinds of Social Entrepreneurships is kind of confusing to me and the line between Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship seems to be very thin. This post is a try to create at least a rough order out of my mind’s chaos.

I have outlined the word „social“ in my last post and also have an explicit idea of what entrepreneurship is. I liked the definition mentioned in class by Prof. Dr. Ripsas: „Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled.“ Also, Bahar’s critical view in her last post was quite inspiring. I completely agree with what she says:

if there is a will, there is (in many cases) a way.

You just have to become aware of the opportunities surrounding you.

All the examples mentioned on the Blogs about Social Entrepreneurship I looked at the last weeks (including our own) were very interesting. There were numerous and I will just refer to a few of them today. The thought which crossed my mind when reading those examples might be a first step for me to categorize Social Entrepreneurships into different kinds:

On one side, we do have projects like the fashionlabel „Rita in Palma“ which Eric wrote about last week. The two founders created innovative fashion out of turkish cultural customs. The company Innocent drinks (mentioned in Luise’s post „Let it bee„) is an example which I would put into the same category. These are entrepreneurships wherein the idea / the product is the essence and the social use is an excellent side effect.

On the other side, there are projects which have a major focus on social issues and connect this with an Entrepreneurial idea. Projects like the Ikotoilets and One laptop per child are great examples for these.

So in the end it turns out to two major kinds of Social Entrepreneurships: There are Entrepreneurships with a social side and – well, let us call them „Social’s“ – going the entrepreneurial way. Or do we have to say three kinds because there are also a few Entrepreneurships just pretending to be of social interest? The Noa bank which was mentioned by Jan in his post „Social Business oder doch nur Betrug?“ might have been one of those.

Source: http://0.tqn.com/d/painting/1/0/P/A/2/82278511-drawline-s.jpgI could also simply classify the mentioned Social Entrepreneurships in Profit- and Non-profit Organizations. However, I think that there are a lot of Social Entrepreneurships which are not simply profit oriented and at the same time not a non-profit organization. For example the Grameen bank which uses microfinance to fight poverty.

In the end, the perception whether an entrepreneurship can also be called a Social Entrepreneurship still remains a very objective one. Not everyone would call a fashionlabel or a smoothie producer a social entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, these companies do support social needs although it might not be their main interest. Or is this the point where we have to draw the line? Are social entrepreneurships only the ones where the focus on social issues is a major attribute and not just a side effect?

  1. Ms. Tuesday Sophie sagt:

    I absolutely agree with you Jana, there are different kinds of social businesses. In my opinion starting a social business is directly connected to the word ‘responsibility’. If you notice social problems and you want to do something to make our world and society better, you are a social entrepreneur. It’s important to feel responsible for what you are doing. Everyone wants to start a business which makes profit, but the essential criteria is if you respect nature and people, value them higher than just the profitable outcome. Also if you start a long-term business which is sustainable and not just a trend, it’s a product which supports the development of our society in the future.
    This is for me the point where we have to draw the line, where social entrepreneurship starts.

  2. Sofia sagt:

    Hello Ms. Monday Jana!

    First of all, thank you for this interesting post and your try to separate „Social Entrepreneurship“ from „Entrepreneurship”.
    I also got quit confused about this. I noticed that nearly every business tries to be social. But I think it’s not because of the sense to do something for our community or to create sustainability. It’s rather a kind of a smart marketing campaign to pretend to do so.
    Moreover, you are right with the Garmeen Bank. Actually, this is a quite interesting case of having a profit organization which shows social structures.

  3. Ich habe am Wochenende die Neugier einiger Freunde gestillt bzw. versucht zu stillen. „Luise, was ist Social Entrepreneurship? Gibt es in Deutschland Gesetzte die genau eingrenzen wer ein „Social Entrepreneur“ ist und wer nicht und ab wann darf man sich so nennen?“ Wie wir alle wissen existieren dafür weder Gesetze noch klar definierte Richtlinien. Es ist eine Auslegungssache. Möglicherweise wären klarere Richtlinien hilfreich, um die schwarzen Schafe, welche sich lediglich damit schmücken, zu entlarven. Unternehmen sollten evtl. von einer Kommission geprüft werden. Was haltet ihr davon? Zuviel Bürokratie oder einfach nur fair?

  4. Ms. Monday Jana sagt:

    Ich finde die Idee einer Kommission zur Prüfung auch sehr interessant. Es wäre auf jeden Fall ein Weg, die Anzahl der schwarzen Schafe auf dem Markt zu verringern. Die Frage ist nur, von wem diese Richtlinien / Prüfunskriterien festgelegt werden sollten? Offensichtilich gehen die Vorstellungen von Social Entrepreneurships sehr auseinander. Es bräuchte zuerst einmal eine offzielle, allgemein akzeptierte Definition.
    Zudem wäre meine Sorge hierbei, dass es insbesondere Start-ups auf diese Art und Weise noch schwerer haben auf den Markt zu kommen und potentielle Social Entrepreneurs vielleicht von vornherein abgeschreckt wären.
    Andererseits wäre die Auszeichnung mit einem Zertifikat ode Ähnlichem natürlich auch etwas was man gut zu Marketingzwecken nutzen könnte!

  5. […] I would like to get back to the google search I commented on last week. I was quite impressed by the broad range of activities taking place and all the input I found on the internet. I will just mention two great examples here which could also be helpful to you: The blog Social Business Net Weblog offers an inspiring critical view on Social Entrepreneurship. Posts like “Social Business: Sinn statt Gewinn?” and “Social Business? 10 Thesen” investigate the problem of defining Social Entrepreneurship and reminded me of the thoughts I noted in my post “Where do we have to draw the line?“. […]

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