Posted by: bevmeldrum | July 11, 2007

A Better Way of Doing Business

Over the next few posts I want to look at the different areas that we will be covering on this blog.

Although the purpose of this blog is to let you know about tools and resources to make your jobs as social entrepreneurs easier we will also cover some general topics such as productivity, becoming more effective, making working from home work for you, business planning, marketing and stakeholder management.

But what I want to do today is start by looking at what we mean by ‘a better way of doing business’.

My background is in the voluntary sector. I started off, after an IT degree, working in a homeless hostel and then moved onto to helping other groups set up emergency night shelter accommodation for homeless people. I sort of fell into the arena of social enterprise almost by accident when the charity I had set up ran out of funding and we had to look for alternative income. My perspective on social enterprise therefore comes from a background of working in the voluntary sector … but more of that another day.

Since moving into social enterprise 5 years ago what I have become convinced of is that making our world a better place is not just restricted to the work of community groups and charities. They do have their place and their rich history is something we can all learn from and be inspired by – there will always be a need for community groups and charities to continue what they are doing.

However, more can be done and is being done. The whole arena of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise is an incredibly exciting one to be a part of. This whole idea of using the creativity of business to make positive changes in our local communities, the environment and on a wider scale across the globe can’t help but excite.

Just read David Bornstein’s ‘How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas‘ if you are not convinced.

However, I am just wondering whether in fact we need to take it one stage further. Traditionally, Corporate Social Responsibility has been about donations to charities and more recently employee volunteering and there are some great examples of that. But maybe it is time to explore the opportunities of putting corporates together with social enterprise and SME’s with social entrepreneurs and seeing what results we can achieve.

And if we start thinking in that way why not go the whole hog – what if one day being an enterprise that cares about more than profit just becomes the normal way of doing business. Measuring your social and environment achievements is just as normal practice as measuring your financial success.

We would hear people say, “Well of course we are an ethical business, is there any other way?”.

In the meantime of course let us celebrate what has been achieved so far and the difference that social entrepreneurship has made to the lives of people across the globe.

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