Change the World, Do What You Love, Make Rent
Talking Social Enterprise with Marc Kielburger for the need of actions towards social entrepreneurship
By: Imogen Grace, Staff Writer
You’re ten years old watching your favourite Saturday morning cartoons. An ad comes on the TV showing a child halfway across the world who is without food and water. For $30 a month, you can feed that child. Only problem is, $30 is all your allowance in the world, and giving it up will mean no back-to-school clothes in the fall, no movie theatre on Friday nights.
For many of us, this was our first experience with social outreach. A notion rooted in sacrifice and charity, and, yeah, sometimes guilt.
Fast forward ten or fifteen years and here we are. A generation that is hungry to define personal success and find careers that leave us fulfilled, wondering how we can make the world a better place while also making rent. This is a lot to reconcile.
What if there was a way to have our cake and eat it, too?
The Skoll Foundation,one of the world’s leading organizations in the field, defines a social entrepreneur as “society’s change agent; creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better”. More specifically, a social enterprise is a business that operates in order to positively impact society or the environment, while still making a profit. It is the “simultaneous achievement of both economic and social values”.
Luckily, there are many individuals that have paved the way for us. Like Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and father of the world-changing invention of microfinance. Or social entrepreneur celebrity Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms. Myscoskie came up with Toms shoes after taking a trip to Argentina and witnessing the hardships of children living without shoes. Toms calls their business model the “One for One” method: buy a pair of shoes for yourself, and a child in a developing country receives a free pair of shoes. It has proven to have a sustainable model and has positively impacted the quality of thousands of lives, donating over 10 million pairs of shoes.
There is also Newman’s Own, a gourmet food sauce line developed by movie star Paul Newman that has donated over $370 million US to charitable foundations since 1988. Or Samasource, which provides high quality data services to companies by harnessing the untapped potential of impoverished women and youth.