Tonight Warner Pacific College is kicking off its new Entrepreneurial Advisory Board associated with our Social Entrepreneurship Major with a dinner at the University Club. We will be meeting with some very motivated individuals and asking them to get involved with our academic program. I have three minutes to discuss the what and who of Social Entrepreneurship. This is what I intend to say:
Good evening and welcome to our event. My name is Roger Martin and I am a business professor at Warner Pacific College. I became an academic after a 40 year career in business that began in the corporate world, ventured into entrepreneurism, then returned to the world of management. Now, my job is to educate and mentor students, helping them to become the leaders necessary for our modern society. I am here tonight because I am part of the faculty responsible for the development of the curriculum for this program, but I am also here to paint a picture for you of what Social Entrepreneurship is, and who Social Entrepreneurs are.
The way we work has been evolving for years. We have downsized, right-sized, merged, divested, exploited, and enriched our businesses, but one thing we know innovation and initiative is required for economic growth. Being an entrepreneur means being an innovator who takes initiative. Entrepreneurism involves a creative destructive path to building the next generation of businesses, one that is only taken by those stalwart individuals who are willing to take the risk needed to do the difficult work.
Social Entrepreneurship focuses its entrepreneurial energy into creative new approaches to social problems. This often entails an interesting circular process that provides value for a client, collects revenue from the client, but then turns around and uses the profit generated to benefit the client. It is an incredible opportunity for self-sustaining solutions to urban problems. Mohammad Yunus has argued that the non-profit model is not sustainable. He also believes that Social Business is a better model because it uses business principles to provide value rather than relying on donors.
Social Entrepreneurship using business thinking, business processes, and business measurement technics to ensure the entrepreneurial endeavor is effective and efficient, while meeting a social need. This exciting new discipline can be expressed in education, medicine, social work, or local government, revolutionizing how the task, whatever it is, is accomplished.
Bill Drayton has described the Social Entrepreneur as someone who “doesn’t just care about giving someone a fish, nor does she care about teaching someone to fish. She wants to revolutionize the fishing industry.” These individuals are not constrained by the way things were done in the past, but attempt to find new ways for creating social value. The social entrepreneur, just like any entrepreneur is risk tolerant, and “believes in everyone’s innate capacity, regardless of education, to contribute meaningfully to economic and social development.”
Social Entrepreneurs are all around us. They could be Florence Nightingale, who, through her fixed determination and will, helped change a system that was killing more people than healing. Or Josh and Lisa Lannon, who created a business that has helped people battle addiction by raising capital, creating new jobs, becoming profitable, while assisting people in need. This endeavor takes many forms.
Margaret Read once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I think this describes both Warner Pacific College, as well as the Social Entrepreneur.
Thank you for attending tonight, and I hope to be working with you.