Social Entrepreneurs- What’s this social currency they earn?

Dr Sumedha Kushwaha
The two words social and entrepreneurship are literally contrasting and poles apart in their meaning. While, the word social means anything to deal with society, creating change in the lives of people and related to a social mission; the word entrepreneurship means doing business, making money, and generating profits. So, how can these two words be put together?
In layman terms, when any legal or commercial entity is intending to change the lives of people around it, either socially or culturally or environmentally and is financially self-sustainable with a robust business model in place, it’s called a social enterprise.
Social entrepreneurship is the field in which entrepreneurs tailor their activities to be directly tied with the ultimate goal of creating social value. In doing so, they often act with little or no intention to gain personal profit. A person involved in doing such a business is called a social entrepreneur. Such an individual “combines the passion of a social mission with an image of business-like discipline, innovation, and determination commonly associated with” (Dees, 1998).
While working with such individuals, I realized that they have a global lens to the problems they are solving and these could range from enabling or empowering women, tackling climate change, or setting up institutions for financial independence among youth; but on the other hand they act very locally to produce results, make the enterprise self-sustainable, rather profitable and then replicate this project further along.
They are different from NGOs/ charitable organizations and the Commercial Organizations too. A not for profit organization is solely dependent on external monetary sources or grants, and totally base their outcomes for charity. A commercial organization on the other hand, intends to make only profits, sometimes or rather often, not being liable to the impact they create for the society. A social enterprise is a fine mix of both- wherein, it’s a work trying to solve the problems existing in communities through passion, true spirit yet being practical and entrepreneurial in nature.
Any such person involved in activity like this, is highly passionate, mission driven and innovative. He/ she is adaptable to situations and circumstances, and is creative and innovative in their approach and they usually are proactive when it comes to learning new skills.
So often people ask, what is more important? Is it the money they make or the impact they create? Although there are very many different ways of analysing / measuring / assessing success of these organizations, yes, the question remains: what is more important?
In my purview, an organization whose value sets are based on kindness and compassion, which is run by an individual or a team of visionaries who care about people and causes around them, who are flexible in their approach yet steadfast in their mission, who recognize market opportunities and willing to take risks, and last but not the least are patient to achieve their mission are real social enterprises.
Their currency is more than a dollar, because it’s imbued with an ambition to achieve more so that the society around them functions better. Their dividends are greater because it’s the worth of changing lives around you, the quality of sleep after satisfactory work is worth more than a lot of money. These people also earn blessings. I am using both my right and left hemisphere of the brain writing this article and encourage you all sincerely to see how can your business create greater impact? How can you touch more lives? Rather than being a go-getter, how can you become a go-giver? How can you find ways to serve society better? If we create this minor paradigm shift in us- all businesses will generate a social currency whose worth will be far more than that of a dollar.