Social Entrepreneurship: What’s Your Why?
I’m passionate about layering your mission and values into everything we do together, and help my consulting clients and students consider these factors from the beginning. After all, most people get into the food business for reasons other than just making money! Businesses with strong missions can, and do, lead to real change.
I recently had the eye-opening opportunity to teach a social entrepreneurship class at an event co-sponsored by the African Moringa Alliance, run in parallel to the 59th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. When building a business, we normally focus on the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘when,’ ‘where,’ ‘how’ and ‘why’ – Who is it for? What to meaningfully offer and do?, and so on. In a social enterprise, we begin with the ‘why.’ Why is this needed? What problem do we want to solve, and what positive solution will our business make?
It was humbling hearing how the women present at the CSW59 event were taking different approaches to meeting challenges including poverty, climate change and lack of access to education… some of the 12 areas highlighted in the UN’s Beijing Platform for Action, with sustainable development goals.
Even if you aren’t primarily a social enterprise, I urge you to ask: Why? Why are you in business, and what can your business do to make the world a better place? What’s your ‘why’?