Societal Change Makers: Are You One?


Social Entrepreneurs are in the business of touching lives; are you a society change maker?

Our lives are made up of several different elements, but we spend the majority of our time focused on work, career and those pieces that provide an income for our family. And for some of us, we actually spend more time with our business associates and co-workers than with our immediate family members. We work crazy hours, long days and even weekends.

Internally we're asking ourselves, "Are we making a difference with all this 'work'?" Your answer needs to be a resounding YES! Your family looks to you and holds the impression that you do make a difference; no matter how outwardly small or large it may be, YOU make a difference!

Could you be doing more? Most likely we all could be doing more, but it is about balance. Balancing our personal lives with our professional lives and finding what feeds our soul supports a better community for our family and friends to live within.

For those who own their own businesses or are thinking of starting one, ponder these two questions: was or is revenue your main focus for becoming an entrepreneur, and is maximizing those returns what matters most?

If you replied yes but did so with a heaviness in your heart, then I have something for you to consider: a new perspective about how you go about enjoying your business passions while also making a difference with potentially a larger impact. It is called Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrpreneurs are people who are committed to bringing about societal tranformation through their business ventures.

Social Entrepreneurs are in the business of touching lives, from one life at a time to hundreds at any given moment. To be a Social Entrpreneur means you do not consider the need of addressing community or social problems as the sole responsibility of your government or Fortune 500 companies. You embrace the champion within you to positively impact the cause in which you so strongly believe. As a Social Entrepreneur you go past the mere level of charity with the "hope" you will support shifts within your commuinity and move out into building a business venture that incorporates sustainable organizational models rooted in a cause.

You will be combining your management skills and leadership know-how with your ambition to make a difference in your community and environment. Social Entrepreneurship encourages business owners like yourself to go beyond the idea of building a business with the main endeavor of making the "big bucks" but while holding the genuine intention for societal change; you might envision a business with the purpose of social entrepreneurialship to be a blend of for-profit and not-for-profit philosophies.

Of course, creating an organization on the ethics of social entrepreneurship is easier said than done. For one, taking this path in public service is filled with challenges such as fiscal constraints and complexities such as acquiring resources like employees. While deciding to follow your heart and move into making a business with a big vision of social transformation, it is strongly recommended you have ensured financial alliances or backers are already arranged and in place.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of inspirational stories of entrepreneurs who have lined their own life journies for success. One of the most well-known Social Entrepreneurs is Mr. Muhammad Yunus, who formed the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and is a founding board member of the Grameen Foundation.

Yunus initiated a revolution in banking by removing the necessity of security. The depository supplies small loans with low interest rates and ensures repayment of the loan by utilizing an organization of "solidarity groups." These groups are informal communities that submit an application mutually for the loan, and its members act as co-guarantors in repayment. The capital earned from the repayment for the loans is recycled to give out new loans.

The scope of Social Entrepreneurship is enormous; the key philosophy behind it is to launch a corporation that knows how to produce enough of a profit to operate itself while fulfilling a larger collective desired goal like schooling for everyone, helping the poor get back on their feet, etc.

During our lives we all move through a stage in which we could be considered social entrepreneurs. But we transition out of this phase because we stick to what society directs us to with regard to businesses that are in the business of making money, and those who are in it to follow their passions are in it for charity.

With a new and differing perspective from a blend of these two philosophies, there are very real and distinct possibilities -- each and every one of which are beautiful when they are sound in their business practices. So if you want to be more than solely a living room advocate and have your dream along with your wish to bring about change, maybe it's time you explored this facet of entrepreneurship. You may find the goal of living in balance, following your dreams and bringing about change while running your own business is not that far out of reach.

To your success!

Coach Karen K


Life Coach and Business Coach Karen Kleinwort is the founder Therapy in Transition and is a Certified Professional Coach specializing in the integration of her clients' mind, body and spirit into her Personal Empowerment Coaching practice. For more information, visit www.coachkarenk.com. www.therapyintransition.org or contact her at success@coachkarenk.com.