Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Social Entrepreneurship

I keep wondering how I can use my talents and business experience to make more of a positive difference in the world. While I love helping entrepreneurs by coaching them through the business planning process or writing or editing their plans, sometimes I want to start another business myself. That's why the article I've pasted below intrigues me so much. It's about being a social entrepreneur -- starting something to fill in gaps where government or private enterprise fail.

I've been volunteering in my church and community to promote local "Aging in Place." We help local seniors to stay in their homes as they age. They face all sorts of challenges. We're here to help them with those challenges. Others all over the country are doing the same. But no one else that I've come across has used the model we have at Aging in Place in Darien. We use the social services already in place, rather than ignoring them. Then, we try to fill in gaps and connect seniors with the services already out there.

In my work, I've been reading as much as I can. This article is about solving transportation problems for seniors. Read on....

ITNAmerica featured in Report to the President December, 2007, Washington, D.C.
ITNAmerica was featured in The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President, an annual series used by policymakers, academics, librarians, and others to learn more about small firms.
ITNAmerica is one of eight examples of social entrepreneurship included in a chapter by Andrew Wolk of Root Cause titled "Social Entrepreneurship and Government: A New Breed of Entrepreneurs Developing Solutions to Social Problems."
Chad Moutray, Ph.D, Chief Economist & Director of Economic Research for the Small Business Administration, said, "Congratulations on being on the leading edge of this exciting phenomenon!"
Wolk, a senior lecturer in social entrepreneurship at MIT, describes social entrepreneurship as emerging at the nexus of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Innovation is a key role of the private sector; providing public goods and services is a role of government; and engaging individuals in action to achieve social goals is a role of the nonprofit sector. Social entrepreneurship has emerged where these roles intersect.
Wolk's chapter represents one of the first explorations of the relationship between social entrepreneurship and government, and each case study showed a social-entrepreneurial initiative responding to some type of market failure, ranging from older Americans who must choose between their safety and their mobility, to building high-quality playgrounds in underserved communities.
Seven other specific programs used as case studies illustrating social entrepreneurial approaches include City Year, Benetech, KaBOOM!, New Leaders for New Schools, Resolve to Stop the Violence Program, Outside the Classroom, and Triangle Resident Options for Substance Abusers, Inc.
The chapter above can be found at
http://www.rootcause.org/assets/files/SE_and_Gov_Wolk.pdf.

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