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Social Entrepreneur-Innovation to Empower People
Social Innovation | Social Entrepreneur
What is Social Innovation | What is a Social Entrepreneur
Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various
fields including education, health, environment and enterprise
development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial
zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome
traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business
entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are
either set up as not-for-profits or companies.
A social entrepreneur is a leader or pragmatic visionary who:
Achieves large scale, systemic and sustainable social change
through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous
application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of
Focuses first and foremost on the social and/or ecological value
creation and tries to optimize the financial value creation.
Innovates by finding a new product, a new service, or a new
approach to a social problem.
Continuously refines and adapts approach in response to feedback.
Combines the characteristics represented by Richard Branson and
The Schwab Foundation employs the following criteria when looking
for leading social entrepreneurs: Innovation, Sustainability, Reach
and Social Impact.
Social entrepreneurs share some come common traits including:
An unwavering belief in the innate capacity of all people to
contribute meaningfully to economic and social development
A driving passion to make that happen.
A practical but innovative stance to a social problem, often using
market principles and forces, coupled with dogged determination,
that allows them to break away from constraints imposed by
ideology or field of discipline, and pushes them to take risks that
others wouldn't dare.
A zeal to measure and monitor their impact. Entrepreneurs have
high standards, particularly in relation to their own organization’s
efforts and in response to the communities with which they engage.
Data, both quantitative and qualitative, are their key tools, guiding
continuous feedback and improvement.
A healthy impatience. Social Entrepreneurs cannot sit back and wait
for change to happen – they are the change drivers.
What is Social Entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurship is applying practical, innovative and sustainable
approaches to benefit society in general, with an emphasis on those who
are marginalized and poor.
A term that captures a unique approach to economic and social problems,
an approach that cuts across sectors and disciplines grounded in certain
values and processes that are common to each social entrepreneur,
independent of whether his/ her area of focus has been education, health,
welfare reform, human rights, workers' rights, environment, economic
development, agriculture, etc., or whether the organizations they set up
are non-profit or for-profit entities.
It is this approach that sets the social entrepreneur apart from the rest of
the crowd of well-meaning people and organizations who dedicate their
lives to social improvement.
Leveraged non-profit ventures
The entrepreneur sets up a non-profit organization to drive the adoption
of an innovation that addresses a market or government failure. In doing
so, the entrepreneur engages a cross section of society, including private
and public organizations, to drive forward the innovation through a
multiplier effect. Leveraged non-profit ventures continuously depend on
outside philanthropic funding, but their longer term sustainability is often
enhanced given that the partners have a vested interest in the
continuation of the venture.
Hybrid non-profit ventures
The entrepreneur sets up a non-profit organization but the model includes
some degree of cost-recovery through the sale of goods and services to a
cross section of institutions, public and private, as well as to target
population groups. Often, the entrepreneur sets up several legal entities
to accommodate the earning of an income and the charitable
expenditures in an optimal structure. To be able to sustain the
transformation activities in full and address the needs of clients, who are
often poor or marginalized from society, the entrepreneur must mobilize
other sources of funding from the public and/or philanthropic sectors.
Such funds can be in the form of grants or loans, and even quasi-equity.
Social business ventures
The entrepreneur sets up a for-profit entity or business to provide a social
or ecological product or service. While profits are ideally generated, the
main aim is not to maximize financial returns for shareholders but to grow
the social venture and reach more people in need. Wealth accumulation is
not a priority and profits are reinvested in the enterprise to fund
expansion. The entrepreneur of a social business venture seeks investors
who are interested in combining financial and social returns on their
The world is experiencing a global housing crisis. About 1.6 billion people
globally live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless,
according to the United Nations. If no serious action is taken, the United
Nations reports that the number of slum dwellers worldwide will increase
over the next 30 years to nearly 2 billion. Despite the progress in meeting
low cost housing in Africa, UN agency Habitat, says that the continent
requires 4 million units per year to cover its low cost housing needs.
Poverty housing affects people’s health and well-being, their job prospects
and ability to make a living. It locks people into a cycle of poverty. It also
holds children back from fulfilling their potential: children living in bad
housing are more likely to suffer from serious health problems, to have
learning difficulties and miss school and to face unemployment and
poverty later in life. The impact on children’s development is both
immediate and long-term. Growing up in poor or overcrowded housing
has been found to have a lasting impact on a child’s health and well-being
throughout their life. Housing at minimum cost meaning lowering the cost
of construction – Advantage of economies of scale
How to bring decent low cost housing to poor communities?
Appropriate technology is an ideological movement that involves small-
scale, labor-intensive, energy efficient, environmentally sound projects.
Small is Beautiful
It was Dr Ernst Friedrich Schumacher who coined the term “Small is
Beautiful”. The economist and philosopher wanted to stress that small-
scale technologies are the ones needed in the fight against poverty. These
solutions have great advantages: they can be implemented with local
resources and skills and they are affordable – which makes them tools
that empower people to help themselves.
The impact of appropriate technology becomes particularly noticeable
when innovative solutions are used and promoted by social entrepreneurs
who put social impact at the heart of their business. The combination of
low-cost technology and social entrepreneurship can have far-reaching
implications for thousands of lives. Creating jobs, stimulating ownership
confidence and the spirit of innovation - this is what social businesses are
looking for. Appropriate technical solutions, such as low cost housing,
improve life quality and can give the initial push for development.
Maslow's theory is based on the premise that humans are motivated by
needs "The most basic of Maslow's needs are physiological needs, such as
the need for air, food, and water. When you are very hungry, for
example, all your behaviour may be motivated by the need to find food.
Once you eat, the search for food ceases, and the need for food no longer
Once physiological needs are satisfied, people tend to become concerned
about safety needs. Are they safe from danger, pain, or an uncertain
future? At this stage they will be motivated to direct their behaviour
toward obtaining shelter and protection in order to satisfy this need."
After the "basic needs" are met, then "Love and belonging" then "Esteem"
How many people in the world do not have the "basic need" fulfilled? How
important is "Love and belonging" or "Esteem" to the people who are
hungry and homeless with NO hope of "opportunity to change"?
And this is what Hennie Botes created - APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY to
EmpowerPEOPLE to help themselves
Combining "production" of the two basic needs "Food and Shelter" moladi
creates employment transferring skills and develop entrepreneurs.
Fight poverty crime and unemployment producing jobs, food and
Innovations in Affordable Housing - Appropriate Technology
Decent housing is one of the key factors in the fight against poverty and
social exclusion. It is not just about putting a roof over someone’s head.
Academic research proves that access to a clean and stable home
implicates an improvement in security, health and education.
The housing sector is one of the strongest catalysts in the growth and
prosperity of any country. Housing investment leverages the GDP growth
through multiplier effects of forward and backward linkages of activities
from house planning to construction, maintenance, manufacturing of
materials to storing, trading, transports and supplies, and supplies and
maintenance of utilities. It creates new employment opportunities for the
every level of the labour market; from unskilled labourers to highly paid
professionals. Housing revitalises regional development and equalities,
creating taxes for government.
Create enterprise at the base of the pyramid for the base of the
We see moladi as a visionary approach to establish scalable economic
projects that will eradicate poverty through social entrepreneurship –
With the motto “Train the unemployed to build for the homeless” moladi
combines construction with economic sustainable development.
Imagination For People - Social Innovation for the Bottom of the
Fight poverty and unemployment in the classroom
Green Building Council - Affordable Housing - Presented by Hennie
"Traditional (building) is not the way to go", says Hennie Botes from
Moladi Construction Technology
The $300 House Blog Affordable Housing: Moladi's Hennie Botes on
Innovation & Perseverance
Hennie Botes - TV Interview - Vision and Purpose
University of Pennsylvania, Dr Peter Frumkin - Innovation and new
ways to do things - moladi as a solution - changing and impacting
the lives of the people
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