Social Entrepreneurs: What They Really Want
5 November 2014 at 8:45 am
Young social entrepreneurs isolate raising awareness of social business and providing mentoring and expertise as the most valuable contributions the corporate world can make to the social enterprise sector, according to a new report.
The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship called (Redefining) Success in a Changing World draws on the responses of more than 2000 young professionals, 40 business leaders and 500 social entrepreneurs in US, UK, Mexico, Brazil, China and South Africa and was authored by consultant Soushiant Zanganehpour.
The report found that help with recognition and awareness of social businesses (47 per cent) and business expertise (45 per cent) are the most important ways big businesses can be constructive to social ventures and the movement, followed by helping with access to funding.
In terms of mentorship, social entrepreneurs are looking for help with marketing, managerial support, finance, IT and strategy.
The majority of SEs say they receive financial support (27 per cent), legal advice (21 per cent), and a mix of access to data and intelligence, learning opportunities, and access to other like-minded partners (17 per cent respectively) as support from traditional organisations such as big businesses, banks, and Governments to help launch and grow their ventures. More than a quarter, however, state they receive no support whatsoever.
Some 32 per cent of social entrepreneurs surveyed cited a lack of funding as a major obstacle to growth, supported by the feedback of the young professionals surveyed, with 68 per cent in that group mentioning lack of finance, 44 per cent citing lack of business advice and 42 per cent agreeing that small social ventures will not generate enough profit to be sustainable.
Young professionals surveyed also highlighted the lack of public awareness of social ventures and suggested that the internet can play a growing role in building consumer awareness and support.
The majority of social entrepreneurs surveyed agreed that large corporations must take the lead, followed by entrepreneurial start-ups.
However, social entrepreneurs in the UK and South Africa had a different view, stating that Governments are better placed than entrepreneurial start-ups to make a difference in society at the global level.
“As a group, [social entrepreneurs] are impatient, taking matters into their own hands. They see a problem and they want to fix it – seeing no time to waste. They live in target communities themselves, and they want to make a change without waiting for Government or policy intervention, despite feeling that others, such as governments or businesses, may be better placed to address these issues at scale,” the report said.
Report author Zanganehpour said that if brands and businesses want to attract top talent, they'd need to do more than simply provide a pay cheque.
“There's a very real demand for change and for larger, more traditional organisations to bring smaller social enterprises and start-ups into their supply chains, as well as giving their employees opportunities to create shared value in society,” he said.
“This is a truly global generation, with a remarkably consistent set of values, expectations and motives. "Business as usual" is being redefined, and companies that understand and embrace this mind set have much to gain in the battle for talent, market share and investment as this cohort matures and flexes its collective muscle.
“Not all millennials want to be entrepreneurs, social or otherwise.But the values of social entrepreneurship appeal to this generation like none before and it's safe to say that millennials will continue to have a profound impact on how all businesses engage with the world,” Zanganehpour said.
To read the full report visit https://www.theventure.com/gb/en/.