While I have had a great time writing about branding and small business ideas one of my earlier posts on social enterprise drew requests from people asking me if I could write some more on the topic of “social enterprise”. So as promised… Here’s some more on social enterprise and its nitty-gritty’s…
As I’ve said before taking the social enterprise route is not something for everyone. The fact remains that most of us are surrounded by issues such as garbage disposal, recycling, spiraling consumerism, hoarding, handicraft units and artisans who are struggling to survive on the one hand and the recent spurt in interest in social good, cause related marketing and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) on the other hand. The result… a gap in the market waiting to be explored and that is where social enterprise fits in.
For those of you who are serious about making a difference and being in business you will be surprised to know that you may rarely have to look beyond your neighborhoods for social enterprise opportunities. Here are 5 ways for you to hop on to the social enterprise bandwagon (aside from turning entrepreneur yourself of course)…
Finance is one area most social enterprises almost always need help with. You can play angel investor or contribute financially to support social enterprise networks. That way even if you don’t have a whole lot of money to invest you could pool in whatever you want to and make a difference to the enterprise and people/groups supported by that/those venture/s.
Helping aspiring social entrepreneurs find their way in business is another way of getting involved. As a mentor your role is to work voluntarily, nurture and support the entrepreneur as a friend, philosopher and guide. What you need? Oodles of patience, empathy and willingness to give your time and advice!
Join a Support Network
Believe it or not social enterprise in the new buzz word and there are a number of global, national and even local support networks that are working to help entrepreneurs everywhere with finance, marketing and human resource issues. One of the best ways of testing the waters with your “social enterprise ideas” is to join a support network. It just takes a few minutes to register online and then you are on your way to becoming a catalyst for social change. Your options include… career, internship, and volunteer opportunities.
If you don’t think you are cut out for any of the above roles then marketing products and services by social enterprises is another way of being associated with this arena which is witnessing burgeoning growth. Shelf space in your store/ a spot on your website is all you need to devote. You will get a share in the profits and coming across as a socially responsive business will do wonders for brand image!
So you know all about product development, branding, pricing, business strategy (well not everything about each one of these areas but something about one of these will do fine). A willingness to commit time and resources to support the work of social entrepreneurs is what you need to don the mantle of “consultant”.
All set to hop on to the social enterprise bandwagon? Take a leap!