• 7 reasons why you should NOT join SIA

     

    Have you ever heard of SIA before? No? Yes?

    Well, here is a short bio: Founded in 2009, the Social Impact Award conducts education and incubation programs in more than 15 countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Its mission is to support social entrepreneurs in the early stages of both developing and implementing innovative business solutions to address key societal challenges. SIA  organizes events and workshops to raise awareness of social entrepreneurship and to provide the necessary skills for young entrepreneurs. 

    Twice a year, we the SIA team based in Vienna recruit new volunteers to support us with various tasks. As we are currently recruiting new volunteers, we thought it is of great importance to inform the newcomers about the real-life of a SIA-volunteer. We asked the current volunteers about the last half-year they spent with SIA and these are the 7 reasons they mentioned, why you should NOT join SIA:

    1. You will have to meet a bunch of cool, creative, diverse, and caring people from different countries, work, and go out with them on a REGULAR BASIS. No, thank you!

    2. You will have to take on responsibility from day one in a team that believes progress is always a team effort. And they always talk about creating impact and becoming a part of something bigger. Nobody told me that beforehand!

    3. You get to work with people from various fields who can teach you a lot about what social entrepreneurship means and how to create social impact. And who would like that?

    4. You will have to be open to the possibility of shaping your own learning experience by focusing on the development of your current skills or learning new ones. Is this really necessary?

    5. You will have to learn about Holacracy, a new horizontal management technique that requires your participation in the decision making progress. Whaaat?

    6. You will have to take part in interactive tactical meetings, with a team that loves to reflect and always tries to achieve higher goals. Even the Coronavirus can´t stop them!

    7. You will have to become a “real” part of the team, they don’t treat you “just like another volunteer”. That is new to me!

     

    And most importantly: you definitely shouldn’t join SIA if you are allergic to “Gute Laune”.

    What do you think now? If you still haven’t changed your mind and want to join the team, then hurry up, the application period for SIA volunteering team ends on the 31st of May

     

  • Freshys – A Healthy, Social Food Take-out Restaurant

    Freshys is a healthy food take-out restaurant, opened in Skopje in January 2016. They offer salads, cold sandwiches, smoothies, and desserts. One-third of their profits goes directly to food donations for homeless and socially disadvantaged people. They also offer a 15% discount for all young people aged 10 to 24. People who use their own plates and cups get 10% off, encouraging the reduction of plastic waste. We talked to the founder, Ljubomir Stojcheski about their beginnings and experience with SIA.

    This is the fourth article of our blog series on the topic of how SIA and social entrepreneurship change people’s lives. Read more about our Impact fields in 2019

    Why did you start this business and what are your future plans?

    Five years ago I joined an informal group called “Retweet A Meal“ where volunteers gather every Friday to cook for the homeless. In Skopje, about 500 people are homeless. Some receive food in public kitchens, but many are not registered and can’t access this support. Moreover, I was looking for inspiration for my thesis. I learned about social entrepreneurship and wanted to write a study. It all came down to my decision to open a restaurant that would not only create direct help through donations. It should also provoke the whole community to think about the food insecurity problem. As soon as we opened the restaurant we started with food donations. We are helping 200 people on a weekly basis, most of them homeless. We cook the food with the group “Retweet A Meal”, and donate desserts and fruits to provide a complete meal. We plan to open another location in the next year and take it from there. Our expansion in the catering business could be the next big step.

    Ljubomir Stojchevski, founder of the Freshys

    How did SIA support you on this journey?

    I found out about SIA in April 2016 and decided to participate. And we won! However, money was not the driver. The whole incubation and meeting peers [process] was the true asset. SIA creates a culture of support and not fierce competition. Right from the beginning, SIA is your backup. To this day I am still good friends with some of them. 

    Fresh food in Freshys

    You also mentored SIA finalists from the Western Balkans at the regional incubation bootcamp in Skopje, a regional gathering supported by Erste Foundation and Western Balkans Fund. Why are these regional events important?

    I was excited about the bootcamp, as it was the first regional cooperation within SIA. At the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, it is important to have a wider, cross-border perspective. Western Balkan countries are such small markets and we should aim to reach them all with our business. I tried opening this perspective for finalists and sharing my knowledge and experience. Moreover, it was a gathering of people exchanging knowledge and ideas. Everyone was learning from each other. 

    Enjoy learning more about Social Impact Award community in our Global Impact Report 2019.

  • Founding An Inclusive Co-working Space For Mothers

    Assel Abylay is SIA Winner 2018 from Kazakhstan. She has a project aimed at creating more job and development opportunities form women. We asked her about her enterprise and the role of SIA in its development. 

    This is the third article of our blog series on the topic of how SIA and social entrepreneurship change people’s lives. Read more about our Impact fields in 2019

    Assel Abylay, founder of the Mom in Office

    What is Mom in Office? Why did you decide to start this business?

    Mom in Office is an inclusive co-working space for mothers, offering training and employment since 2018. As a mother of three, I myself needed to work and support the family. My eldest daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. When you have to take care of your children – or even elderly – your earnings are lower, as you need to devote time to such care. I wanted to solve this. That is why I organize courses for mothers on social media management, copywriting, marketing, photo and video-making and editing. After graduation, they are equipped to work wherever they have the Internet. These kinds of freelance jobs allow mothers to work hours that work for them. In the office space, we also have a playground and babysitters to support women who cannot separate from their children.

    How many women shape your community?

    Our trainings range from 3 to 20 women. We also offer online courses where women from other cities and countries can join. Our team consists of five employees, and many more are hired for specific projects. So far we have reached more than 10,000 women through the training. Some are still working with us, some have found their own jobs. However, with a population of about 18.6 million in Kazakhstan, we aim to reach much more in the future.

    Kid’s space at the Mom on Office

    What are your future plans?

    We started organizing courses for kids, to make the best use of our shared time. We are also starting to work as a social media marketing agency. Currently, we consult on 12 projects from three cities in Kazakhstan. We work with our graduated team, supporting businesses with their social media presence, content production, and advertising.

    You got incubated with SIA Kazakhstan in 2018. How did it shape you?

    Without SIA, my business wouldn’t exist! My initial business model was very faulty. I had very high costs for hiring and was still testing different services for mothers. SIA helped me figure out my business model. I learned about different models of hiring freelancers. The mentoring showed me that courses, like social media management, have a bigger return on investment to make my business more sustainable. This made all the difference! We are still connected with our mentor and with the program hosts from SIA Kazakhstan. They invite us to events within their popular co-working space for social entrepreneurship. I can always reach out for their support.

    Enjoy learning more about Social Impact Award community in our Global Impact Report 2019.

  • Going Big In Romania

    Corina Angelescu and Andreea Nedu are part of the SIA Romania team. We asked them about their work and how is social entrepreneurship developing in Romania, and here’s what they have shared. 

    This is the second article of our blog series on the topic of how SIA and social entrepreneurship change people’s lives. Read more about our Impact fields in 2019

    SIA Romania team

    Already in 2012, Romania joined the SIA family. How has awareness about social entrepreneurship changed among Romanian youth?

    Corina: Awareness of young people about the topic is growing, but slowly. Every year, whenever we go to universities or high schools, the conversation is the same. Youth needs to understand better what social entrepreneurship is, in order to decide if this is the boat they would like to jump on. However, there is a larger potential. I meet many young people who feel the need to do meaningful work. When they discover social entrepreneurship, it clicks well with these values.

    When it comes to entrepreneurs, support programs, and companies that want to invest, there is definitely growth. There are more incubators supporting social entrepreneurs and more awareness-raising programs, although not necessarily for youth. 

    SIA Romania puts a lot of effort into reaching the youth nationwide. In 2019, you’ve organized over 25 events and workshops for more than 900 people in 10 cities all over Romania. Why do you do this?

    Corina: The most important reason is adding options to their potential careers. We help them see a broader perspective than they are used to in schools. There are also very few programs that reach out nationally on important topics for the local communities. Wherever we go we ask youth about their communities‘ issues and how to fix them. We encourage initiatives locally which is really important.

    What makes young people reach an a-ha moment when learning about social entrepreneurship?

    Andrea: What works best are examples. At every presentation, we show them the real people who build social enterprises. They realize it‘s possible. Showing examples or meeting entrepreneurs in person and engaging in discussions – young people can easily relate to that.

    What are your ambitions for 2020?

    Andrea: We want as many youngsters as possible to really understand social entrepreneurship. In the past years, we have positioned SIA Romania as a tool for exactly that. We have also built a great group of supporters all around the country. In the next years, we will push further and implement our ideas to make this happen.

    Enjoy learning more about Social Impact Award community in our Global Impact Report 2019.

  • SIA’s Global Impact Report showcases how 220 incubated ventures shaped Social Innovation in 2019

    Every year, we look back on the activities and achievements of our international community over the past year. Our yearly Global Impact Report provides a bigger picture of our impact work in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The report summarizes our efforts in helping young social entrepreneurs navigate from vague intentions to promising impact ventures.

    This is the first article of our blog series on the topic of how SIA and social entrepreneurship change people’s lives. 

     

    Today, we are proud to share with you the brand-new Global Impact Report 2019. We invite you to study it in detail to learn about what SIA does in its four impact fields of Awareness, Education, Support, and Community. Learn about how our journey developed over the yearly program and successfully ended with our SIA Summit in Kyiv hosting 150+ stakeholders.

    Moreover, you can sneak-peek into our vision of scaling into new regions. Our managing board member, Hinnerk Hansen, also shares with you one more thought on why fresh, young voices should weigh in on the global discussion of social change. We cannot wait to experience more role models like Greta in our community.    

    But before you start reading all these stories, learn about our key findings on 10 years of SIA. Since establishing the SIA community in 2009, we have been active in 25+ countries, offering 1,000+ workshops and events to 31,000+ young people. So far 730 social ventures have been successfully incubated. 77% of our SIA winners are still running their ventures 3.5 years after participating in SIA. 

    Only in 2019, SIA provided 200+ workshops and events to leverage the awareness and potential of social entrepreneurship among young people. About 8,400 young people participated in 70+ cities in 16 countries globally. About 220 social ventures got successfully incubated to bring their idea to the next level and learn core-skills for their personal entrepreneurial journey. 

    For all of you who cannot wait to start reading, find our Global Impact Report 2019 here.

     

     

    For those who want some more sneak-peeks into our four impact fields in 2019, stay tuned:

    Awareness shows you which UN-Sustainable Development Goals our social ventures focused on in 2019. Fostering “Sustainable Communities and Resilient Cities” is more present than ever, influenced by the demographic and climate changes we are experiencing at present. Moreover, you will learn how our awareness activities enabled SIA to go big in Romania.

    Education provides you – next to our impact numbers – with a deep-dive into the crucial topic of wellbeing. SIA’s academic partner shares the latest findings of our studies on wellbeing. Learn how our young entrepreneurs self-assess their burnout risks and why wellbeing is a true game-changer for social entrepreneurs.

    Support highlights how 220 social ventures benefited from our incubation program in 2019. We are amazed that our recent alumni study proves that 77% of SIA winners have a long-lasting impact. Four out of five SIA winners are still running their ventures 3.5 years after attending SIA – a big round of applause to all of them! As a role model, a SIA winner from Kazakhstan shares her story of why she supports mothers to live their professional mission. 

    Community underlines our culture within the SIA community in Europe, Africa, and Asia. A SIA finalist stated recently that ”SIA’s community of likeminded people does not compete, but support and enrich each other to make the world a better place, together.”. Moreover, Freshys, our Macedonian winner in 2016, proves how a social food restaurant can also strengthen the local civic community.

    Enjoy learning more about Social Impact Award community in our Global Impact Report 2019.

     

  • Psychological support for burnout prevention

    We are not the only ones trying to provide Social Impact Award participants with the tools and skills to fight the compassion fatigue and achieve personal wellbeing. SIA Russia 2018 winner “You Talk” is leading by example! YouTalk is online psychological chat support that decided to use their Social Impact Award to support participants of this year’s incubation in Russia.

    This article is a part of our blog series on the topic of wellbeing among social entrepreneurs. Read our previous interview with Peter Vandor about the results of SIA’s wellbeing studies.

    Anna Krymskaya, the co-founder of YouTalk, gave us insights into their business and why they decided to give back to the Social Impact Award community.

    Anna, how did you come up with the idea for YouTalk?

    I am a clinical psychologist by education and have been in this profession for several years, working in mental health institutions and later in the corporate sector. While visiting different conferences and doing market research on mental health services, I found there is a solution on the Western market that is unusual for Russia – chat counseling. I looked into different research concerning this format and found that this can be great for people that cannot afford psychological help in the regular format. There are different reasons for that – some people lack time, some live in remote areas with no good specialists nearby and for some, it is just not affordable. 

    With Russia being such a big country, with a large population and a lot of remote areas, I decided I wanted to provide such a resource on the mental health market. 

    Now, almost a year after you’ve won SIA Russia, how did YouTalk develop?

    Within the last year, we have been steadily growing our client list, growing in terms of revenues and team. We are investing our own money and reinvesting our profits which enabled a stable growth. Today we have over 700 clients, requests from more than 32 cities of Russia and 25 countries around the world. We support a lot of migrants living outside of Russia, as they are suffering from stress and issues with adaptation, and there is no support available in their language locally. 

    At what point did you join Social Impact Award? What did you take away?

    We entered SIA when we were in the early stage of our project. When we joined, we already had some clients and we were sure our model can actually work. However, there were still a lot of unvalidated assumptions. SIA helped us a lot to validate them and develop business thinking. We were trying out different pricing and communication models during incubation. This was really worth it since the model we had at the end of incubation is still the one we use today. 😊 

    We also had an amazing mentor, a really experienced entrepreneur, who was the greatest part of our educational journey. He was eager to help us but was not the cheerleader type. He rather always offered a critical point of view on the matters at hand which helped us immensely in the process. 

    You decided to use your Social Impact Award for providing counseling for current SIA finalists. Why?

    I have to say, it wasn’t as hard to win the award, as it was to decide how to spend it! 🙂  

    We thought of different ways of investing the money we received. Since the award was 1,500 EUR, we decided it will not be enough for some serious scaling, but rather for something special and local.

    We first wanted to offer the services to groups who are experiencing special difficulties, like mothers who lost their children or domestic abuse victims. But then we realized that however impactful this can be, we cannot scale it beyond that small group of people we were trying to initially reach. 

    Therefore, we came up with the idea to target social impact makers, social entrepreneurs. Because if we help in preventing their burnout, they can scale their businesses and therefore do more good. We realized this is the way for us to scale up our impact way beyond our own activities.

    There was also a more pragmatic side to this decision, as we see entrepreneurs as our potential target audience. Therefore, we thought this would be a great opportunity to do research, to give us a better understanding of their needs and support them better. 

    We believe social entrepreneurs are a great group to work with as they are usually very conscious and open to self-development, therefore we are looking forward to doing more in this area.

    —–

    We believe so too and our data shows the same! Although social entrepreneurship takes a toll on our participants, many have also built the mechanisms for burnout prevention. Among those mechanisms, our alumni mentioned hobbies and sports, psychologists’ support and support from friends, family, and coworkers. 

    Social Impact Award has a positive impact on this as well. 70% of respondents of our Incubation Survey from 2018 stated that participation in SIA’s incubation contributed to their ability to deal with conflict and stress that comes with starting a social enterprise. Particularly positive effects have had individual coaching sessions, high-quality mentors and providing clarity on structures and timelines. Providing a positive, friendly network of peers is also important, as social support is associated with significantly lower burnout. 

    In the years to come, we will continue exploring the topic of wellbeing and burnout prevention among social entrepreneurs. Thanks, Anna and YouTalk for leading by example and giving back to our SIA community!

     

     

  • Wellbeing of social entrepreneurs is a game-changer

    Social entrepreneurs care about the wellbeing of others. But does that come at the cost of risking their own? 

    This article is a part of our blog series on the topic of wellbeing among social entrepreneurs. You can also read our interview with SIA Russia winner who uses online psychological support to combat burnout among entrepreneurs.

     

    Burn-out among social entrepreneurs is a true issue. Social Impact Award’s academic partner – the Vienna University of Economics and Business and its Social Entrepreneurship Center – conducted a survey among SIA alumni including personal wellbeing. Outcomes show that social entrepreneurs are challenged: More than 40% were exposed to some level of burnout. 5% might have experienced severe burnout.

    Social Impact Award is in the driver’s seat to train its participants’ skills to stay healthy. Together with HIL Foundation and the Vienna University of Economics and Business, we started to research and implement our findings on wellbeing since 2018. We asked Peter Vandor, our research partner and founder of Social Impact Award, to share the latest findings on wellbeing within the SIA community.

    How is wellbeing perceived by young entrepreneurs? Why is it a game-changer for founders and social entrepreneurs?

    In the beginning, the founders have to do everything in the organization. Faced with a myriad of different tasks, their passion and energy is the only driver. If they are not well and decide to quit, there is no venture and no impact.

    Tell us about SIA’s wellbeing studies. What triggered you to do the math?

    More and more social entrepreneurs in my personal environment suffered from chronic stress and in some cases burnout. I wanted to understand what is going on and what we can do. Also, SIA is in a peculiar position when it comes to founders’ wellbeing. We are well equipped to provide founders with the best tools and mindset to prevent burnout and have a lasting positive impact. But as a program, we also make very high demands. We could risk being part of the problem by raising pressure.

    What are the key findings?

    Our data from two SIA surveys among current and alumni ventures since 2018 confirmed the issue. The majority of social entrepreneurs had experienced lasting periods of stress. For 20%, this manifested in persistent physical symptoms such as sleeping disorders and anxiety issues, in a few cases even clinical burnout. This is alarming, even though similar rates in other professions and even higher levels of burnout risk in medical and care professions are common.

    Much of this is driven by the high demands of entrepreneurial work. In some cases, however, the gravitas of the social problem our alumni work on seemed to amplify the pressure. A respondent explained: “…people wait for your products that could save lives and you are not doing anything. It’s constantly on your mind, the fear that someone could die tomorrow because you took a break.”

    SIA can make a difference. Some of our interventions, in particular, 1-on-1 coaching on team issues, had a strong positive correlation with wellbeing. The data suggests that we can be effective in supporting our founders on this level.

    Why is SIA pushing this topic? What is going to happen next?

    Drumming the beat of social entrepreneurship comes with a responsibility. If we send thousands of youth on this journey every year, we owe them a realistic picture of the challenges and the best tools to tackle them. Unfortunately, too many programs just focus on the rosy side of entrepreneurship creating unrealistic expectations.

    We will continue testing and evaluating different interventions to see what helps. I have started further research to better understand the drivers of this phenomenon together with my university and Impact Hub Global.

    Your personal rule of thumb to cherish wellbeing?

    Coping mechanisms such as exercising, getting professional help or maintaining social support circles (aka meeting your friends) resonate with me. 

    But the responsibility should not be put mainly on social entrepreneurs. It’s systemic. We have to make sure there is proper education, funding, legal and taxation structures, and recognition for this work. Entrepreneurship is stressful enough. Social entrepreneurs should not need to face extra barriers for trying to solve social issues. The answer is not yoga classes, we need sound institutional frameworks.

    ——

    We are not the only ones trying to provide Social Impact Award participants with the tools and skills to fight the compassion fatigue and achieve personal wellbeing. SIA Russia 2018 winner “You Talk” is leading by example!

    Anna Krymskaya, the co-founder of YouTalk, shared with us their success stories regarding their online psychological chat support and how they are supporting SIA Russia in burnout prevention.

    Read Anna’s story

     

    About Peter

    Peter Vandor is a senior researcher and co-founder of the Social Entrepreneurship Center at WU, the Vienna University of Economics and Business. In his position, he has been leading 60+ collaboration projects with organizations such as ERSTE Foundation, CERN, UNDP, and the Roland Berger Foundation. His research focuses on social entrepreneurship, migrant entrepreneurship and innovation and has been published in the Journal of Business Venturing and Harvard Business Review. Peter is the founder and academic director of Social Impact Award, a capacity building program for young social entrepreneurs in 15+ countries and initiated the first academic and award-winning course on social entrepreneurship in Austria. Peter was nominated as Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2012 and as SCANCOR Visiting Scholar to Stanford University in 2017.

     

     

  • 3 Trends That Will Influence the Social Entrepreneurship Sector in 2019

    By Katherine Milligan, Head of the Schwab Foundation and Member of Social Impact Award’s Global Advisory Board

    In spring 2018, Katherine has joined SIA’s Global Advisory Board. In her work with the Schwab Foundation Katherine gets in touch with many social innovators, capacity-builders and funders from around the world. We asked her to share three key trends which she is currently observing in the development of social entrepreneurship globally, especially with regards to the early-stage support of social enterprises.

    #1: There’s a difference between market-based and financially profitable.

    In the early days of social entrepreneurship, most of the trail-blazing organizations that pioneered important innovations were non-profits. For many young people today, however, social entrepreneurship is about a commercially viable enterprise. I think the discourse has swung too far into that direction and needs to come back to somewhere in the middle. Yes, social enterprises should strive for financial viability wherever possible, leverage market forces, and embrace business practices and principles. At the same time, there is a reason why these problems persist: because the market or the government failure is just so extreme.

    Designing a business model to solve these problems does not mean you’re going to turn a profit – not in year one or two, but maybe not even in year five. Otherwise, conventional businesses would have stepped in already.

     

    So, there are a lot of myths, hypes, and misconceptions around the sector that are not necessarily helpful, and I believe young entrepreneurs creating start-ups need a more realistic view about what the journey ahead of them holds.

    #2: Public institutions are our partners, not the opposition.

    Another trend is the relationship of the social entrepreneurship sector with governments and related institutions. A few decades ago, the social entrepreneurship movement was born out of frustration with the inability of governments to solve social problems at scale. This resulted in the image of a social entrepreneur striking out in opposition to the traditional public services such as education, health care, waste, sanitation, water, etc.

    Now, many social entrepreneurs aren’t asking anymore whether they should work with government, but rather how. If you think of solving a problem on a national level, you cannot avoid or escape public institutions as key partners.

     

    First, as a social entrepreneur, you must build up your own credibility and prove that you can build something more cost effectively than other providers or consistently produce better outcomes. But once you have done that, you can use this credibility and engage with government. Such collaboration can come in various forms: procurement, meaning the  government agency outsources a particular service and provides the social enterprise a fee for services rendered; government adoption, where a social enterprise’s methodology or model gets embedded into a public system like the healthcare system; or technical assistance, meaning the social entrepreneur advises government on a policy reform, a new law, or  a planning process.

    #3: The myth of the ‘hero entrepreneur’ is dead.

    The third and last trend that I would like to mention sends a message that shall speak directly to young social agents and entrepreneurs who are now starting their career.

     

    The myth of the ‘hero entrepreneur’ is dead. It is a very unhelpful and destructive myth. It put enormous burden on the entrepreneur’s shoulders. More and more people are recognizing that social entrepreneurship is a team sport and that this is not about me, my idea, my solution, my organization.

     

    It really is about solving the problem and doing whatever it takes in working with other stakeholders and actors in a particular system or problem area. It is about putting your wellbeing at the center of your work, being very clear about your motivation for doing this work, having a ‘managed ego’ in doing this work. If this is all about you and your ego and your agenda, people sense this and realize that this is not authentic and ultimately it will undermine your ability to create trust-based relationships and partnerships. Being a managed ego leader and prioritizing your and your collaborators’ wellbeing are huge trends and will be on top of the global conversation in 2019.

     

    You can read the rest of our interview with Katherine on page 24 of our Global Impact Report 2018.

    Katherine Milligan is the Director and Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, where she was the recipient of the Pforzheimer Scholarship for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.  Katherine’s previous work experience includes a Sheldon Knox Research Fellowship at Harvard University (2004-2005); a Global Leadership Fellow of the World Economic Forum (2005-2009). Before that, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and a strategy consultant for several non-profits. Her work has been published in the International Institute of Economics, Stanford Social Innovation Review, MIT journal Innovations, and the Harvard Business School.

  • What is the difference between social entrepreneurship and charity?

    Despite the road we have travelled to turn social entrepreneurship from a vague topic into a trend in the Western Balkans, as societies we still often face challenges when we are explaining the difference between social entrepreneurship and humanitarian or charity work. We therefore take it upon ourselves to break it down for all those struggling with explanations that could prove clear and easily understandable.

    First, there were definitions.

    a) A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form (depending in which country the entity exists and the legal forms available) of a co-operative, mutual organization, a social business, a benefit corporation, etc. What differentiates social enterprises is that their social mission is as core to their success as any potential profit, but income and profit are involved in the mix. Social entrepreneurs seek long-term solutions.

    b) A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization, which centers on philanthropic goals as well as social well-being, which gathers no profit.

    Secondly, there were beneficiaries. Both social entrepreneurship and charity strive to change the world for the better by using tools and knowledge to create long-term solutions to complex problems. In those strivings, charities have a smaller scope of work – they focus on vulnerable groups in societies and ways of improving their lives (through access to food, water, education, etc). Social entrepreneurs on the other hand find creative and self-sustainable solutions, which deal with the wider group of modern day challenges. Although they often directly target vulnerable groups in societies or on the global scale, they also tackle wider issues relevant to quality of life concerning all humans – environment protection, access to healthy food and clean water, employment, immigration, energy, education and learning, democracy and corruption, etc.

    You need colourful examples? Lets take a quick look at Robin Hood. What we know – he was fighting hunger and poverty by stealing from rich and giving to the poor. His work was dependent on (unwilling) contribution of others, and those he was helping needed his continuous help. Andrew Carnegie, steel magnate from US, who built about 2500 libraries in US, Canada and Europe and developed a system of maintaining those libraries know as Carnegie formula, which ensures that libraries will need no other funding while remaining accessible to public, i.e. everyone, for free. Access to information to all was provided long-term through a sustainable solution.

    This leads us to third differentiation – duration of the effects as one of the core differences. Effects of charity work are mostly short-term and need repetition, while social entrepreneurs seek long-term solutions.  In other words charity moves assets from those who have to those who don’t. Social entrepreneurs cause long-term changes trough innovation and mutually benefit exchanges.

    For example, if we look at access to fresh food and water as a challenge, a charity would simply provide those in need with fresh food and water, while a social entrepreneur would sell the seeds and tools for growing food and teach them how to grow it and how to produce seeds. In that way target group i.e. those in need are provided with fresh food in long-run and after first contact are no longer dependent on their help.

    What differentiates social enterprises is that their social mission is as core to their success as any potential profit, but income and profit are involved in the mix.

    Fourthly, different approach is employed. Both charities and social enterprises have a goal to better the state of well-being of others, but they focus on different things. Charities deal with current situation, with the status quo, while social entrepreneurs look at undermining causes and try to change them in order to prevent the consequences, in other words charities deal with the consequences while social entrepreneurs deal with the root cause of the problem.

    And finally, funding and sustainability come in play, as an essential differentiating characteristic inherent to these two models of change making. Charities rely on donations, they are driven by compassion and are not independent in their funding or work. On the other hand social enterprises rely on their own work through creating different business models which make their work sustainable.

    In the time of scarce resources and severe challenges we are facing as the human kind, we are in dire need of sustainable models who use existing resources wisely and who create new value and impact. If you want to invest, social enterprises are the way to go. They are scalable and generate lasting solutions.

    IF SOMEONE ASKS, TELL THEM- THIS IS WHAT SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS DO…

    We at Social Impact Award support you in building social enterprises that find solutions to the most challenging issues of our time. We play, we experiment, we dream big, we work hard. We are 100% human and radically collaborative. We do so by hosting events and organizing workshops to raise awareness for social entrepreneurship, teaching the necessary skills to navigate from vague intentions to promising ventures, providing access to networks and promoting the best teams with the Social Impact Award.