” the real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes” Marcel Proust.
That is what Professor Gorden McConnell started talking about Social Entrepreneurs. He is a professor in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. He said that every time he started to talk about social entrepreneurs and social enterprise he opens his speech with this quote, because you will definitely understand what this quote means after he finishes explaining the meaning of social entrepreneurship and enterprise.
In first I didn’t know what are the differences between them until Mr. Gorden explained them. I thought that both of them have the same meaning. But I thought wrong! I liked this seminar because it was fruitful with a lot of ideas of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. So Shall we start figuring out what are the differences?!
To make it clear both social entrepreneurship and enterprise have to have a CLEAR MISSION AND THEY HAVE TO STICK TO IT. If you wanted to get involve to a social entrepreneur or social enterprise and forgot about the mission or got driven away, things probably won’t work out the way you thought it would. What are the meanings of both?
“An innovative, social-value creating activity that can occur within or across the nonprofit, business or government sector ” Harvard Business School,2007.
In other words,
“Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change” The Kaizen Crossroad, 2011.
Examples about it were displayed in the seminar as I previously said this seminar was amazing and made me notice the difference.
I liked this example of an organization called Safe Sipp, it’s a social venture addressing three problems facing rural communities in the developing world: transportation, purification, and safe storage of drinking water.
It is a ‘social mission driven’ organizations which trade in goods or services for a social purpose. In other words they only focus on what improves and serves the social environment.
The social enterprise is about a business model and the social entrepreneurship is about the person and the is the idea this person came up with to serve and solve a problem in the social environment.
For example, Oxfam shop.
“Oxfam is a global movement of millions of people who share the belief that, in a world rich in resources, poverty isn’t inevitable. In just 15 years, extreme poverty has been halved. 15 more years and we can end it for good” Oxfam shop.
To be honest I understood what they meant but it was a little bit fuzzy until Professor Gorden explained the differences in an easy simple way,
- Been around for a long time.
- Earned income oriented.
- Sometimes sit alongside a charity e.g. Oxfam Shops.
- Relatively new idea.
- Adapting ‘best practice’ and model from startup world.
- May be earned income, crowd funding or other sources of funding.
There was also an example that I found impressive, Greyston Bakery company, they encourage prisoners who got out of prison by offering them a job. We all know that most prisoners find difficulty getting a job but Greyston Bakery have done a great job helping them.
“At Greyston…we don’t employ people to make brownies…we make brownies to employ people. We have to professionalize our business by focusing on…market… remain true to vision…attention to needs of the business….don’t force the business to be a social program….” Julius Walls, Jr CEO of Greyston Bakery.
Then after professor Gorden has finished, miss Esraa Asiri the founder of Etree company have introduced herself and started to talk about her company and what her company’s mission which is “leverage their technology expertise with their roots in society to create the most compelling and innovative digital solutions”. She spoke about a lot of the services that they came up with for example:
Which means “you are home” in Arabic, its purpose is to bring the Saudi female role models and make them join social events so that they can share their experience.
Which means link, connection in Arabic, because women in Saudi Arabia don’t network a lot they have come up with this service that encourage them and help them in closing the gap between female and the world by helping them connect with each other in business environments.
Then miss Esraa have gave us a precious advice that she learned through her experience which was
she said that she used to be shy and never ask! I think she is right some people miss a lot of chances because they don’t ask for information or anything else. Like my mom used to say “you never know until you ask”. I think I’m going to stick to that advice since many insist on it.