Blog Post

So you call yourself a social entrepreneur?

Long time, no blog. However, wanted to share:

Came across this blog post: "You call yourself a social entrepreneur? I had a dream - Begin Rant"

My posted reply:

Okay. I hear ya.

However, let me suggest that there are, as with any population, diversity when it comes to social entrepreneurs. I cannot speak to the segment that you seem to be taking aim at, and I dont disagree with the judgment you are passing on them. But

I would like to highlight a different segment: YOUNG social entrepreneurs. I work for a non-profit on a project that identifies, supports, and connects young social entrepreneurs (we define young as ages 18-29). Among these folks there is no someday Ill do that, Im not smart enough, or I dont have time for that. They have identified issues, challenges, and/or needs in their communities and are spending their time and all of their resources working to address them. Frankly, speaking as someone who did not spend their 20s trying to change the world, I am astonished at the amount of their own personal time, money, and energy they expend pursuing these endeavors.

You are correct that, generally speaking, we as a community do a good deal of talking about helping others, but at the end of the day there are too few stepping up and actually doing anything concrete. I just want to take a moment and counter that within our global community are a segment that are working their asses off to make a difference.

Whether that difference is ultimately sustainable or not, whether their efforts are acknowledged or not, and despite overwhelming odds and obstacles, they are taking action.

These young social entrepreneurs are not just creating Facebook pages, collecting friends and/or followers, and circulating petitions. Although, being young and savvy about social media, these are tools in their arsenals. However, they are also crafting business plans, forming partnerships with the private & public sectors, raising funds, redirecting profits back into their projects, and aggressively trying to educate and advocate around their issues. For the most part, they lack ego around their own accomplishments and spend much of their time seeking to learn from their peers and other professionals about how to do things better, smarter, and more sustainably. They are, without exception, changing lives.

Some examples:
Reese Fernandez (Philippines), founder of Rags2Riches, a social business enterprise, to empower the women of Patayas, a sprawling dumpsite, to make high quality rugs out of recycled cloth from garment factories. Rags2Riches bases its approach on an innovative partnership system bringing together designers, marketers, and entrepreneurs to create a sustainable, scalable, social enterprise.

Raghda El Ebrashi (Egypt), is the Founder and Chairperson of the Alashanek ya Balady Association for Sustainable Development (AYB-SD). Alashanek ya Balady translates from Arabic to mean For you, my beloved country. The organization works on the development of poor urban areas in Egypt through various economic, social, and cultural projects.

Joseph Agoada (US), founder of Two Wheeled Foundation (TWF), utilizes the bicycle as a tool of social empowerment for developing rural African communities. TWF seeks to address a root cause of poverty and suffering in rural Africa: lack of mobility.

Bright Simons (Ghana), co-founded mPedigree to combat alarming rates of pharmaceutical counterfeiting in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, as much as 25 percent of all medicines sold in the developing world are inauthentic copies containing little or no active ingredients. Through mPedigree, consumers are able to verify the source of a pharmaceutical at the point of purchase, for no cost, by simply sending a text message.

These are only 4 examples. (for more:

As long as they call [themselves] social entrepreneurs, Im going to have to insist that the label be respected.


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