Who knew that saving the world was so expensive? As the United Nations strive to make sustainability a priority, more and more people are beginning to take on the career of social entrepreneurship, and they are realizing how pricey it can be.
The goal of these professionals is to find business opportunities that help solve social issues that affect the Earth and the people who live on it. However, solving problems costs money, and to do so ethically can cost even more. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do good while bringing home a paycheck as well, though.
Having social entrepreneurship skills is a must, but equally as important is to have business skills in general. You want to help others, but you also need to make a living. These following strategies allow you to continue doing social work while remaining financially solvent.
The saying, “two heads are better than one” is no joke. When it comes to social entrepreneurship, it can be hard to stand alone in what you’re trying to achieve. In order to make a difference in anything, you need the help of others. Social entrepreneurs are no different.
According to Shopify, “a social enterprise, because of their mission-based motivations, can partner with other non-profit organizations and for-profit companies to leverage existing audiences and established reputations to create a presence in their market.” Partnering with other organizations can get you in front of the right people and help get your name out much quicker.
Associating yourself with other ethical companies can also lend credibility to your own and help potential customers and investors trust in you. Just as importantly, these partnerships will help you achieve your goals through funding, sharing resources, and offering special discounts.
There are many for-profit businesses who are looking to team up with people to help with their own corporate social responsibility goals and to find purpose in the business world. However, these organizations aren’t specifically looking for you. Research needs to be done on which organizations you should target.
Potential companies to partner with should share your goals and ideals and are involved or related to the issues you’re trying to address. That way, you spend time nurturing the relationships that truly matter, benefitting all parties involved.
Although it takes giving some money first, impact investing is a great way to generate income while also making a difference in people’s lives. According to the Global Impact Investing Network, “Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.”
Individuals and companies with the drive and business plan to do good in the world often just lack the capital to get it started. All it takes is a loan to get the ball rolling, but due to various reasons, they just can’t get approved. However, a lack business sense on the individual’s part is definitely not one of them.
One Forbes article stated, “The majority of today’s impact investors are seeking returns in excess of 20 percent, with over 80 percent of investors making investments in private equity, private debt or equity-like debt instruments.”
In the same article, it was speculated that “there is massive pent-up demand for goods and services from the 4 billion people with annual incomes below $3,000, estimated at $5 trillion.” All it takes is an initial investment to jumpstart a business and meet the needs of many.
However, due to the hoops and regulations many individuals have to go through, most are not able to attain the starting money they need to start their business. Thankfully, due to free enterprise, people can cut through the red tape and receive money directly through impact investing.
Grants and Certifications
Being in the social entrepreneurial field gives you access to a multitude of grants and certification opportunities. Resources are available to find grants that are applicable to you based on the issue you’re trying to tackle and where you live.
Whenever meeting with a person or group of people to receive funding, it is best to say what your idea is as concisely and clearly as possible, and then ask, “what’s wrong with it?” There are many reasons why investors say “no”, and not all of them are clear.
However, the Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Alastair Wilson advises social entrepreneurs to ask this question to find the specific reasons why investors don’t want to work with you. By listening to their feedback, you can make your idea better and form a more stable business plan that can later lead to successful investment proposals.
Also, by being certified by certain agencies, you are able to show to others that you follow certain standards and that you do what you say. This not only builds trust and credibility to organizations and customers but to potential investors as well.
Sometimes social entrepreneurship can feel like a thankless job, but nothing could be further from the truth. The social and environmental injustices our world is subjected to need to be addressed and the people who are helped cannot be more grateful.
Although some people perceive this business venture as a non-paying job, this is simply not the case. You can still make money while working in corporate social responsibility roles. Through partnerships, impact investing, grants, and certifications, you can make living while making a difference
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