High-Impact Entrepreneurship

By Linda Rottenberg: “Shared Norms, New Reality: What’s next for Social Enterprise?”

Check out a new blog post by Endeavor co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg posted on the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship blog (World Economic Forum). The post briefly highlights the role that social entrepreneurs can play with relation to the business community and government.

The text is also pasted below:

“Shared Norms, New Reality: What’s next for Social Enterprise?”

When I think about the field of social entrepreneurship, I’m continually struck by how far we’ve come–from the crazy pioneers shouting to be heard, to a respected and growing global movement. One of the big questions is: what do we do with this momentum? As social entrepreneurs, where do we go from here?

This year’s Davos theme, “shared norms for the new reality,” emphasizes the need to come together and form a complementary game plan for solving global problems. For social entrepreneurs in 2011, this is just the approach we need. As a movement, we need to be interdisciplinary. Instead of operating in a cozy bubble, we need to branch out and re-engage both the private sector and government in new ways.

When it comes to business, social entrepreneurs need to make it known that we’re not only about learning lessons from companies–but have something to teach them! We’ve always said it’s a two-way street, but now more than ever, it’s time to prove it. Whether it’s aligning shareholders’ values and interests, motivating employees beyond bonuses, improving corporate governance, working with scarce resources, improving community relations, or measuring impact beyond the next fiscal quarter, social entrepreneurs have many great lessons to share with our for-profit colleagues.

And yes, we can share our wisdom in the political sphere as well. Especially as the government embarks on missions that overlap with ours, we can help deploy its resources more efficiently and effectively and track the impact of its social investments. Last April, I went to Washington to participate in U.S. President Obama’s Summit on Entrepreneurship. There, I was delighted to see a range of social entrepreneurs collaborating with statesmen and business leaders to brainstorm creative ways to promote entrepreneurship in the Middle East. We’re getting somewhere…but we’re just getting started!

And as always, we have to move beyond anecdotes and focus on impact. It’s already a good sign that today, instead of asking, “So what is social entrepreneurship?” people are asking, “What has social entrepreneurship achieved.” Like never before, it’s our job to provide a compelling answer.


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