26 March 2009

Social Entrepreneurs make it into The Economist: Global heros saving the world?

When the conservative economic magazine The Economist is picking up a trend then it can't be a hype anymore. They run specials on (Social) Entrepreneurship and - wow - their titles even go overboard: "Global heros" and "Saving the World".

The first hero-article describes how - despite the downturn - entrepreneurs are enjoying a renaissance the world over. It brings back the famous phrase of “creative destruction” by Joseph Schumpeter from 1942. Then it busts five myths on entrepreneurs and covers the who-is-who o (American) entrepreneurs.

The second article 'Saving the world' covers how entrepreneurs are trying to do good as well as make money. Key messages resonate much with me such as "Social entrepreneurs often blur the distinction between making money and offering charity. Some use the profits from their main business to cross-subsidise their charitable work." (This mix I have lived the last two years). With dozens of comments it's a hotly debated article.

Also interesting: "In the long run, however, the best thing that entrepreneurs can do for the poor may be simply to see them as workers and customers." This - in an empowering, integrating way - is what UNDP's Growing Sustainable Business Initiative, who I am currently working for, is trying to do. Stay tuned...