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Is social entrepreneurship a bubble?

Is social entrepreneurship a bubble?

Article · By Hassan Merghani on August 7, 2017

 

Yes, it is.

 

...but it’s up to us to keep this bubble round and healthy, or to burst it.

What does this actually mean? If we choose to dismiss the status quo of the social enterprise movement as just “yet another trend”, then we’ve essentially created a bubble, named it “social entrepreneurship”, and made ourselves believe that it would burst—and we could very well be right. But before we move forward, it’s only fair to understand what the term social entrepreneurship actually means before judging whether it’s a passing fad or not.

But first, what is a bubble?

To lay some facts on the table, a bubble is commonly understood in economic theory as a rise in the price of an asset that isn’t justified by the basic supply and demand factors. Sounds a bit too academic? Think of a bubble as having two phases: the boom and the burst. Bubbles usually don’t last for long since the time period between these two phases is rather short, hence the name bubble. Notable examples of historical bubbles include the Dutch Tulip Mania, South Sea bubble, and more recently, the infamous dot-com bubble of the ‘90s.

If we try to look at social entrepreneurship in light of these aforementioned examples, it becomes clear that the underlying principles of the term bubble don’t necessarily apply here. As such, perhaps a more accurate title for the argument about social entrepreneurship would be whether it’s a trend.

Regardless of terminology however, those of us involved in the social entrepreneurship scene would definitely prefer to know early on whether we’re investing our time and effort into something with a shaky future. Obviously, nobody likes to risk wasting their resources on a fragile bubble and eventually lose on long-term value. To continue our search for a satisfying answer, let’s now see what social entrepreneurship is all about…

Social entrepreneurship, revisited

It does seem obvious, but definitions make sense only when we understand them.

Some poorly-constructed definitions can make it more confusing to understand what a term really means. So here’s one modern definition of what constitutes a social enterprise:

According to the European Commission, a social enterprise is “an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than make a profit for their owners or shareholders.” So it’s simple: While making money is still a big focus for a social enterprise, its ultimate goal is to use this money to support social projects, rather than to cash it in the bank. But is this a new business model, or have enterprises with this same guiding principle existed well before modern times?

The use of the term social entrepreneurship might be relatively new in the business and management world, and has probably received mainstream exposure by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. However, there were many prominent individuals throughout history who were engaged in social entrepreneurship projects of different types, such as Robert Owen, Florence Nightingale, Andrew Carnegie, and the list goes on.

 

The one common denominator uniting historic and modern social entrepreneurs? The mission to have lasting social impact by helping less-privileged people without taunting their dignities.

 

Seeing how different incarnations of the social entrepreneurship concept has lived throughout history proves that it’s not a new movement per se. Yet, one might still ask:

  • Many movements were popular for long periods of time, but slowly declined in popularity until eventually dying. What makes social entrepreneurship special?

The answer can be rather simple...

Is social entrepreneurship bulletproof against bursting?

As is the case with any other initiative, we can still get hit by burnout, loss of interest, prolonged procrastination, and other productivity killers when dealing with social entrepreneurship projects. Most of these harmful situations can be cured by:

However, in case we choose not to take control and fix the situation promptly, then we’re effectively bursting the social entrepreneurship bubble… on an individual level.

At the global scale nevertheless, and as long as there are humans living on this planet, chances are that there will always be people and entities backing the core beliefs behind social entrepreneurship and actively having social impact through their businesses—regardless of the shape it may take in the future.

Terminologies and technologies change over time, but the driving force lives on. Doing social good is first and foremost a fundamental characteristic of us as humans, and it’s very likely that it will always be.

Keep inflating the “bubble”

Now that it’s clear who’s responsible for promoting social impact in the world (us), it’s time to take action and release our social monsters from their cages.

Feeling an energy boost already? Inventshift has created a rather comprehensive guide on how to start a social enterprise that will help you kickstart the journey of your life. The reality is that, not everyone will be able to build high-impact social enterprises or donate generous sums of money to support social initiatives. Many of us can do only little—but when we do it hand in hand, little by little will eventually have impact on actual human lives.

To make these social goals easier to achieve and more accessible for everyone, we at Inventshift took it upon ourselves to help you contribute your share from the comfort of your home by highlighting social enterprises and creating a fund that supports social causes around the world. We keep this fund healthy by feeding it 5% of revenue made from bookings through Inventshift. That means whenever you use our services, you don’t just get your need satisfied, but you also leave your mark by helping improve people’s lives. Two birds, one stone? Yes, please!

 

We have zero doubt that social entrepreneurship is here to stay, and we are 100% committed to our goals at Inventshift. So next time you need to book services for your event, why not get what you need instantly and make our planet a great place at the same time? Browse top-rated services here.

Article by:

Hassan Merghani
on August 7, 2017

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