Systemic changes are being accomplished by social entrepreneurs

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl

The traditional way of entrepreneurial ‘forces for good’ has been embedded in the idea of entrepreneurs that accumulated wealth in the private sector, and becoming philanthropists later in life. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are among the world’s most famous philanthropists. Together they have donated over 60 billion dollars in causes such as health care, extreme poverty, and education.

By the end of the end of the 70s of the last century, a new force for good emerged with the advent of Bill Drayton who founded Ashoka. An organization that fosters and stimulates entrepreneurs who work towards positive (social) change, through their core businesses. A new business model has emerged: social entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurs have an idea to change the world. They have the ability to see the world differently. They see opportunities where others see problems. They show the world solutions. Mohammed Yunes is a perfect example of a social entrepreneur that changed the status quo by opening a financial market at the bottom of the pyramid through a micro-credit system. Social entrepreneurs create frameworks within a field in order to change it.

“Social entrepreneurs are not content with giving people fish or teaching people how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry” – Bill Drayton

One of Bill Draytons visions on social entrepreneurship, still the vision of Ashoka, is the aim for system changes. ‘Aim for a system change, or the symptoms will just reappear’. Try to reach the ‘tipping point’, where, if you stop operating, the change will still be there. If Mohammed Yunus decides to close the Grameen bank and not operate in micro credit finance anymore, it will not disappear. Microcredit finance is here to stay.


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