I had my first class for the Social Entrepreneurship course, last evening. The following were the key points that came out from discussions:
1. Like any business entrepreneur, social entrepreneurs also find gaps and create a venture to serve the unserved 'markets'.
2. The primary difference between the business and the social entrepreneurs is the purpose for setting up the venture. While the business entrepreneurs' efforts focus on building a business and earning profits, the social entrepreneurs's purpose is to create social change.
3. A business entrepreneur may create changes in the society, but that is not the primary purpose of starting the venture. Similarly, a social entrepreneur may generate profits, but for him/her that is not the primary reason for starting the venture.
4. Profitability - not 'profit-making' - however, is important for the social entrepeneur. Being 'profitable' helps self-sustainability of the venture, and also works as a mechanism for self-monitoring. To quote from Dr Yunus (Grameen Bank):
"Grameen's central focus is to help poor borrower move out of poverty, not making money. Making profit is always recognised as a necessary condition of success to show that we are covering costs. Volume of profit is not important in Grameen in money-making sense, but important as an indicator of efficiency."
5. Another key difference between the social and the business entrepreneur is in the meaning of wealth creation. For the business entrepreneur, 'wealth' is same as profits. For the social entrepreneur, however, wealth also encompasses creation/sustenance of the social and environmental capital. Therefore, to be viable, a social entrepreneurship venture must show a positive Social and/or Environmental ROI.