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1 The impact of social entrepreneurship AR (2)

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1 The impact of social entrepreneurship AR (2)

  1. 1. 2928 Issue 8, Sep - Nov 2015 D emonstrations all over the world in the last 15 years shaped a new generation that, after taking to the streets demanding changes and opportunities, adopted entrepreneurship as a new dynamic approach to socio-economic recovery. In fact a new entrepreneurship paradigm - do good by doing good business - is changing the way we look at business and society. No longer driven uniquely by profits but still with an eye on margin and growth, the number of entrepreneurs who embraced the social way to make a profit has increased steadily. They choose to use their vision and business acumen to accelerate systemic solutions to today’s threats while looking at traditional KPIs like revenue and profit. Not only are business corporations “one of the most effective frameworks for using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems”, said Ryan Honeyman, a sustainability consultant, in Stanford Social Innovation Review. Coca-Cola’s VP of Business Integration, Derk Hendriksen, pointed that “Building a sustainable business is the only way to survive in the long run”. For this reason, Coca-Cola has recently launched the Ekocenterprogram which aims at reaching 150+ kiosks across Africa, Asia and Latin America by 2015: the kiosks not only distribute free drinkable water, free wifi access and free energy, but also supply basic convenience store products like canned food and drinks. They also serve as community centres where people can gather and spend time chatting, doing business and working. Importantly, women play a key role, as they are the designated entrepreneurs who run the kiosks. This means that the kiosks will have an impact on the generations to come. Women tend to invest more in education and health, and “a child born in a household where the mother controls the family budget is 20 percent more likely to survive — and much more likely to thrive", said Melinda Gates, co-chairwoman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The 21st century business model does not just have a philanthropic dimension - it does good by doing good business, and thus the urge to invest in Corporate Social Responsibility and in Social Entrepreneurship projects flourished. The main difference between them lies in the differing structures: CSR is often a function within an existing company that addresses specific issues while SE is an entrepreneurial approach to social issues. SE is the trend to wear in 2015 and it fits both corporate gigs and solo entrepreneurs. Business schools reckon this trend will grow, and today specialised MBA courses are not uncommon, not to mention special financial assistance for those wanting to pursue a business career far from the traditional corporate world. This new dimension of doing business has a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of several countries as several programmes are specifically tailored to the needs of emerging countries. In particular, addressing education and health issues in a sustainable way is a conundrum for today’s civil society players. This is certainly true in the case of the Global Shapers Rome Hub: born as a World Economic Forum initiative, the Rome community has soon emerged as a catalyst for inclusive innovation thanks to two projects. They launched Powering Education, an initiative in collaboration with Enel Foundation and Givewatts represents one of the first attempts to make the link between access to clean energy sources and education. In Africa, 587 million people do not have access to grid electricity; families spend a very large share of the family income on electricity bills. In addition, lamps are usually expensive, dangerous and unreliable. Therefore, when money is tight, school related expenses are cut off and it gets difficult for children to study after sunset. Powering Education substitutes kerosene lamps with solar lamps: not only can The Impact of Social Entrepreneurship "Do good by doing good business" by Costanza Gallo ofTEDx Roma 28 students work for longer on an evening, teachers also benefit by having more time to correct homework and to prepare lessons. The pilot project in Kenya resulted in an increase of 17% of the study hours for children of school age and the project could be extended to small and micro business to further foster entrepreneurship and employment. Similarly, they brought international media attention for the Foldscope - a microscope that costs just one - yes, one - dollar. Central to the development of health infrastructures, and to the diagnosis of several major diseases like Ebola, is appropriate equipment that is often ridiculously expensive. Microscopes that would allow doctors to identify bacteria and viruses can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Global Shapers Rome Hub presented to the Maker Fair in Rome an origami microscope created by Manu Prakash, professor at Stanford University, that costs as little as $1. Not only can it help to fight lethal diseases like Malaria, but it could almost be distributed for free. Today, where most schools lack basic equipment, traditional microscopes are definitely out of reach of their budget. Foldscope on the other hand, can easily make it into the school’s budget, and even a family’s budget. Bringing a microscope to every child means nurturing their thirst for science and knowledge, not only in poor countries but also in western schools, who more often than not, lack equipment for science classes. Issue 8, Sep - Nov 2015 Costanza Gallo is Social Media Manager for TEDxRoma and Marketing Intelligence Manager for Quantum Leap. She holds an MSc in Law, Anthropology and Society from the London School of Economics. Her writing has appeared in publications such as the Financial Times, Wamda, Panorama, The Post Internazionale. In the past 10 years she has lived in 8 countries.

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