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Basic notions of entrepreneurship to improve the world
- Santander X Explorer
Entrepreneurship to improve the world refers to the ability of a company to add value to the environment around us in three main ways:
- Generating economical benefits for the society.
- Protecting and preserving the environment to gain ecological benefits.
- Enhancing people’s quality of life to achieve social benefits.
Since the beginning, this type of entrepreneurship has a social purpose and, throughout its evolution, it establishes relationships with stakeholders who support its main purpose.
In one side, its characteristics and areas are related to the economic aspects:
- They must consistently produce goods and services in a continuous relationship with the market.
- They are autonomous and make independent decisions.
- They have paid employees, in addition to volunteer support.
- They take risks to diversify and innovate with their products and services, seeking new distribution channels to expand their customer base.
And, on the other hand, to social aspects:
- They originate from the initiative of a group of people pursuing a common goal.
- They significantly contribute to the social development of a territory.
- They make decisions without considering the amount of each member’s contribution (power is not based on the amount contributed).
- They have a democratic and participative management model, where each person has a vote.
- They clearly explain their social purpose.
*(Saavedra, Camarena, and Vargas, 2020).
People who undertake to improve the world
Entrepreneurs who want to improve the world are characterized by undertaking innovative and sustainable actions that bring notable and positive changes in developed economies, providing solutions or alternatives to major community issues. Their main goal is to create value for society while seeking financial sustainability.
These individuals are considered social innovators when:
- They drive a valuable change for society as a whole, sustainable transformation over time, or a new pattern of behavior among community members.
- They take calculated risks and promote a self-sufficient society with passion, innovation, creativity, and a desire to improve the environment.
- They are aware of the responsibility involved in transforming the environment in social, cultural, economic, and environmental dimensions.
In summary, through the creation of social and economic value, entrepreneurship aimed at improving the world contributes to job creation, economic development, innovation, and the formation of social and financial capital. Their main motivation is based on the need to address social and sociopolitical injustices experienced by those in need.
*(Saavedra, Camarena, & Vargas, 2020).
The importance of creating social value
The primary goal of any entrepreneurship that aims to improve the world is the creation of social value, meaning that social objectives are more important than the economic ones. But, what is social value? It can take many forms, including:
- Promoting social inclusion.
- The satisfaction of social needs not addressed by the government.
- The creation of stable employment.
- Respectful use of the environment.
- Initiatives that contribute to social cohesion and territorial development.
In general, creating social value refers to generating positive changes in the quality of life, whether at an individual or collective level. These initiatives address issues that the State has not been able to resolve for the benefit of disadvantaged individuals, thus contributing to progress in their community or region.
In less developed countries, these initiatives focus on providing basic social services to the most disadvantaged communities, while in more advanced economies, they concentrate on other interventions such as environmental protection, cultural promotion, and support for individuals with disabilities.
The main objective of initiatives aiming to improve the world through entrepreneurship is to create social and economic value through businesses and trade, which means they seek to generate social benefits through commercial exchanges. To achieve this, companies use, among other methods, corporate social responsibility or philanthropy practices. Although initiatives to improve the world can lead to governmental, economic, legal, or cultural changes that generate social value, this is not their primary area of action.
On the other hand, social innovation should not be confused with social entrepreneurship; the former does not seek economic stability but aims to create collaborative and collective actions. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to apply collective actions in social entrepreneurship to achieve a greater impact on society in terms of both time and the number of people benefited.
*(Alonso-Martínez, González-Álvarez & Nieto, 2014).
Source: SEL4C TEC de Monterrey Manual, long version.
*All quotations are from the text of the manual.