What is a socialpreneur?
A socialpreneur is an entrepreneur that creates a business that seeks to help solve the world's social and/or environmental issues, while at the same time generating a profit.
The socialpreneur seeks to make the world a better place. They find solutions that can be delivered via a viable business, and in so doing provide work for other people. It is this financial viability that set them apart from typical charities or philanthropic endeavours.
A socialpreneur believes that it is the responsibility of business to look after the communities in which they operate, and that members of their teams should be paid fairly for their work.
What is the difference between an entrepreneur and a socialpreneur?
An entrepreneur by definition is more than just a business owner, or even someone who starts a business. An entrepreneur takes risks, and believes in trying something new. They may learn from others, but they forge their own path with no guarantee of success.
A socialpreneur is the same as an entrepreneur, with one exception. The business they create must benefit society in a social or environmental sense. That is the business must impact the world in a positive way, and not simply be aimed at driving consumerism.
Can socialpreneurs make a profit?
Yes. This is what allows a company founded by a socialpreneur to survive. Unlike charities they do not require donations. Instead they provide a valuable product or service for a fee, just like any other business.
There are many businesses that operate with a greater social purpose while being profitable, (most solar energy companies for example).
Do socialpreneur businesses have to be sustainable or 'green'?
Currently there is really no such thing as a green or 100% sustainable business. Every business uses raw materials, computers, transport, buildings and tools that have required embodied energy at some point during their manufacturing or transportation. Even the staff of most businesses will use some form of transport to get to work.
If someone cycles to work there is still embodied energy and nonrenewable resources used in the construction of their bicycle. Even the clothing that is worn will have the same problem. The best we can hope for at the moment is 'a brighter shade of green'.
That said a socialpreneur will make his best efforts to reduce his negative environmental footprint, and use the most sustainable solutions available when possible.
How do I become a socialpreneur?
If you want to become a socialpreneur then look to create a business that solves one of the world's problems. This may be to create a more energy efficient device, or produce a more sustainable form of energy, it could be to produce food, clothing or other products without the need for polluting or toxic chemicals. It could be to create a service such as a taxi or courier service that runs using electric cars and has the drivers wearing organic cotton clothing.
We can not individually hope to solve all the world's problems. But we can help to improve on one or two, at least on a local level. If all businesses did this, then the world would collectively become a much better place, and you will have done your job as a socialpreneur.