The concept of social entrepreneurship

مفهوم کارآفرینی اجتماعی

مفهوم کارآفرینی اجتماعی

The concept of social entrepreneurship
Have you ever wondered how the world can deal with complex issues that affect us all, such as climate change, mass migration, global poverty or great inequalities? In this article, we discuss innovative solutions to solve these problems, known as social entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship is one of the important ideas in the civil society of the world nowadays. Although many activities and approaches related to this concept have already existed, but recently, social entrepreneurship has become a distinct organizational field that has created an important change in social institutions. The term “social entrepreneur” has been around since the 1970s, but only in the last 20 years has it entered the discourses of civil society, government, and the private sector. These discourses have been influenced by new organizations working in the field of construction and development, as well as by governments, international organizations and higher education institutions.

However, social entrepreneurship is disputed as a new concept for analyzing innovation in civil society, in such a way that some may see it as a symbol of marketing and distortion of civil society activities. Some see this type of entrepreneurship as a tool for business (and government) to undermine the autonomy and originality of civil society, rather than strengthening and diversifying previous models of social change. But these criticisms can lead to a greater understanding of the concept of social entrepreneurship, because the distinctive feature of this concept is actually in new and mixed organizational patterns that are composed of familiar materials and cause innovation and change towards improvement and social and environmental results. This type of entrepreneurship can promote self-reinforcement and improvement of civil society with community participation. In fact, for civil society, social entrepreneurship has been portrayed as a new strategy to solve social and environmental problems on a large scale.

What is special about social entrepreneurship are not organizational elements, but patterns that create new and different organizational logics and structures using common and known elements.

Social entrepreneurship is a systemic change in society that aims to strengthen the power of individuals as changemakers. For example, in the UK, the social enterprise model offers the government an attractive way to transform social welfare programs into market-friendly ones. Also, for the private sector, social entrepreneurship is a model that allows them to reach unattainable marketing opportunities, including marketing to the lower strata of society, government welfare funds, as well as a group of ethical consumers. Also, participation in social entrepreneurship allows companies to make their weak social responsibility strategies part of their core activities, and also serves as a new opportunity for social impact investing that usually has little to do with conventional markets.

A definition of social entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship is a complex phenomenon that is difficult to define and describe precisely. Its nature requires the combination of logic and activities related to social and public sectors with activities related to the commercial sector. This combination leads to different concepts and forms of social entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs and social enterprises operate in a variety of industries, from arts and culture to banking and agriculture. These companies can solve complex problems through innovation or create job opportunities for disadvantaged people in society. This variety makes it impossible to get a precise definition of social entrepreneurship.

Studies show that there are more than 37 different definitions of social entrepreneurship. These definitions offer a variety of concepts of social entrepreneurship, including innovation, creating social change, belonging to a particular community, adopting positive entrepreneurial behaviors, decentralized ownership, and financial sustainability. But the only common feature between these definitions is attention to creating positive social and environmental impact and social change.

Social entrepreneurship is still a changing and debated topic. Some institutions present it as a solution to the state’s welfare problems, while others see it as an opportunity for new partnerships and social change. For some companies, social entrepreneurship is an opportunity that contributes to profitability and social responsibility.

However, the precise definition of the scope and boundaries of social entrepreneurship is still challenging.

The government sees social entrepreneurship as a solution to the government’s problems in providing welfare services. Civil society considers this approach as a space for creating new partnerships, a model for political change, or a tool for systemic social change. Finally, for businesses, social entrepreneurship represents a new market opportunity or a natural extension of social responsibility and social investment.

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