Post by Amy Blais, contributing Women On Business writer
In my daily work, I have the privilege of working with driven, ambitious motivated women entrepreneurs. They are inventing new products, providing services, employing individuals and contributing to the economy. Recently, entrepreneurship has taken new direction and has emerged into the field known as Social Entrepreneurship.
Social entrepreneurs can be described as businesses with a conscious. By using the vehicle of entrepreneurship to improve the conditions of communities and provide solutions to social problems facing the world, entrepreneurs are changing the way they do business. Companies are realizing they can help their communities earning profits that transcend financial gains alone.
Social Entrepreneurship is the next generation of business and will be making a huge impact on the business world. Clients may be more inclined to work with a company who is known for their social work as well as their high quality services, so it can only help business in the end. However, social initiatives should help further your business and fit in with your community’s values. Ideas should be in sync with your environment, and the wants and needs of those you are working with. Large scale changes can occur with social entrepreneurship by impacting those that you may not have been able to before. One example of a WBE excelling in social entrepreneurship is JMH Education.
JMH Education exemplifies social entrepreneurship — in fact, this woman-owned company is a pioneer in this niche, having been "Doing Well by Doing Good” for more than 28 years. The agency measures potential projects by asking: will what we create make a difference in someone’s life? Every person on the team supports this mission, and has chosen to be part of JMH because of the socially-responsible work the agency puts forth, year after year. Nearly three decades of social programs have addressed many important and timely issues related to health and wellness, the environment, financial literacy, family violence prevention and alcohol awareness among teens to name a few.
JMH’s current programs range from Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® that reaches 50 million children in 80 countries each year with messages of oral health, literacy and self-esteem . . . to a healthy eating/anti-obesity program for tweens on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration. For the FDA program, JMH forged a partnership with Time-Warner’s Cartoon Network to deliver the messages in a fun and memorable way that reaches kids online, on-air, and at community events across the country. For another recent health-based initiative, JMH worked on behalf of Autism Speaks and the Ad Council to craft a professional-development program that equips early childhood teachers to be able to talk to parents about the importance of early intervention for children with suspected developmental delay. And, in response to the current U.S. financial crisis, JMH created a program for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that empowers 4th and 5th graders to understand the long-term value of saving.
For each of these programs, JMH has offered social solutions to key issues facing today’s children and families — reaching out to them either in school, at homes, and/or through the media. As JMH founder and CEO Janice Hamilton has noted, "social entrepreneurship was the founding principle behind JMH long before this term was even a catch-phrase. It’s always been about choosing to do work that impacts our audiences in a positive way, and enabling them to engage . . . learn . . . and at the end of the day, be the better for having received a JMH Education-created program."
If you are not a social entrepreneur, I at least push you to be socially responsible. Everyone can do socially responsible things in their business that fit in with their budget. If you provide what you can, and make contributions to you community, you will be making an impact just by including socially responsible ideas into your current business vision.
Try the following resources for more information on social entrepreneurship.
- JMH Education
- Harvard Business School Social Entrepreneurship Resources
- Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative
- Kauffman The Foundation of Entrepreneurship
- Starting Bloc