Two recent events have started us thinking about the increased recognition of and appreciation for social impact focussed entrepreneurship, where it is going, and how it is impacting the world.
First, My Choices Foundation Founder and Director Elca Grobler won the 50 Most Impactful Social Innovators Award by World CSR Day and Social Innovation in February.
Second, Elca was privileged to be the MBA graduate and alumni out of 17,000 alumni to be honored for her work at the Australian Graduate School of Management’s (AGSM) 40th Anniversary Celebration that took place in Sydney, Australia in March. She received special recognition for her work with My Choices Foundation, and has been featured as an ambassador for the AGSM scholarship fund as an exemplar graduate.
Somehow the intersection of social impact and good business is indivisible. Around the world, the role of CSR Director is becoming more and more sought after and respected, CSR budgets are expanding, awards for social impact in business are becoming more and more popular, and there are even large global conferences and movements held to organize and award social impact by businesses. A quick look at Google Trend data shows that since 2004, searches for the term “CSR” have increased by an average of 21% globally.
While Social Entrepreneurship is not a new concept, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the first reports and books on topic were published. Popular academic interest in the topic only began around 2000. Now, in 2017, nearly every business school offers a degree or certificate in Social Entrepreneurship.
The rise of social entrepreneurship has made the marriage of business and social impact a powerful duo. Just ask Muhammad Yunus who has won a Nobel Peace Prize and teaches business leaders the world over due to his incredible work harnessing business principles for good.
Increasingly, Social Entrepreneurship is being recognized for the fantastic dedication, skill, and innovation it takes to be successful. It takes all the business savvy and grit of running a successful start-up, plus the passion and dedication to overcome the obstacles unique to setting out to achieve “for good” outcomes. Changing mindsets, creating culture, leading movements, and strategizing empowerment is not for the faint of heart. Moreover, measuring success is often not nearly as straightforward in social entrepreneurship as standard business. Businesses have a very clear performance measure: Profitability. Social enterprises need to look at a wider set of measurements. Success is measured in “for good” impact.
How do you quantify being able to stop violence in a woman’s life? How do you measure the impact of preventing a little girl from being trafficked? While the best social enterprises have created robust measurement and reporting systems, there is still a universal multiplier effect on every number. One girl kept in school doesn’t just mean one girl in school. It means one girl who will get married later and have fewer children, which means she is able to keep them healthier and educate them better. It means that a whole new future is created in her family, and therefore a whole new set of economic possibilities for her community. The ripple effect of doing good can be exponentially powerful. But that success is a very difficult thing to measure for social enterprises.
Yet, the world is waking up to the impact and potential of social good. Companies who used to focus on the bottom line of profits are now massively more concerned with the second bottom line – social impact. Not all of these companies with new found focus on the second bottom line are doing so because of compliance and reputation issues. Many realize that social impact affects everything from brand value to customer satisfaction to employee loyalty. Doing good does exponential good for their main bottom line of profits.
We are incredibly proud of being leaders in social entrepreneurship in India. We are thrilled that the incredible work it takes to bring constant creativity and dedication to effectively doing, measuring, and achieving “good” is now being recognized worldwide for its contribution not just to society, but also to business and business learning.
For the women and girls of India, we are hopeful that social entrepreneurship means that the best minds, practices, and investment will come to their aid to develop powerful enterprises for empowerment and development. We a proud to be among the social entrepreneurs of India, giving the cause our 120%.