Yes, the word entrepreneurship calls on the highest powers of business goodwill. It loops in the perspectives and opinions of economic analysts, white-collar businessmen, and even roadside vendors. There are various models of entrepreneurship, but one model is strikingly different. This model is different because of its value proposition and the very fact that it gives money-making a heart and a noble social cause.
“I am a social entrepreneur because of the fact that I am not only in business for the money, but I am passionate about social impact and helping the underserved people,” said Caroline Wanjiku, the Founder CEO of Daproim Africa Limited. Social entrepreneurship is steadily becoming a crucial element in the worldwide discussion on volunteerism and civic commitment.
“I am a social entrepreneur because of the fact that I am not only in business for the money, but I am passionate about social impact and helping the underserved people.”
It interweaves the passion of a common cause with industrial ethics and is singular from other types of entrepreneurship models thanks to its quest for mission-associated influence. They are intended to drive societal transformations and such entrepreneurs concurrently act to address particular cases of social issues and problems empowering transformational progress throughout the system.
Beyond The Buzz Words
Societal transformations are well versed within the realm of what Caroline does. For her, changing the narrative is not some buzzword, and she does not take it lightly. It goes above and beyond the business aspects of entrepreneurship. In her view, it encapsulates the proper balance between helping the community, and monetary gain.
“When you want to be a social entrepreneur, you have to plug in something you are passionate about, hence why perseverance is important.” Her eyes tell a vivid story as she explains why perseverance is important. “Perseverance shows that you are willing to take risks,” she adds, motioning with her hands, implying just how intense of a risk it could end up being. Even though entrepreneurs are risk-takers, they need to be smart about it, and in Caroline’s own words, they need to be resilient. Why resilient? Because falling out of love with your job is an actual thing.
The reasons behind the popularity of social entrepreneurship are many. On the most basic level, there’s something inherently interesting and appealing about entrepreneurs and the stories of why and how they do what they do. People are attracted to social entrepreneurs like Caroline for many of the same reasons that they find entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs so compelling. These extraordinary people come up with brilliant ideas and against all the odds to succeed at creating products and services that dramatically improve people’s lives.
Speaking Truth To Power
But interest in this brand of business transcends the phenomenon of popularity and fascination with people. Social entrepreneurship signals the imperative to drive social change, and that, people, is the potential payoff. With its lasting, transformational benefit to society, that sets the field and its practitioners apart. It is an appealing construct precisely because it holds such high promise. If that promise is not fulfilled because too many “non-entrepreneurial” efforts are included in the process, then social entrepreneurship would fall into disrepute, and the kernel of truth will be lost.
“On the negative side, entrepreneurship is regarded as a consuming, money-hungry monstrosity. It has replaced words such as tycoon, businessman, or businessperson.”
Take Caroline for example. She is passionate about helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds, be it socially, geographically, and physically. Plus, she is also driven when it comes to empowering women. This goes to show that her version of doing business is being a catalyst for society, and not always being about changing the face of business.
The word entrepreneurship itself is a mixed blessing. On the positive side, it connotes a special, innate ability to sense and act on opportunity, combining out-of-the-box thinking with a unique brand of determination to create or bring about something new to the world. On the negative side, entrepreneurship is regarded as a consuming, money-hungry monstrosity. It has replaced words such as tycoon, businessman, or businessperson if you want to be strictly politically correct, magnate, and lately, even the blurry multifaceted nature of the word ‘hustler.’
Interestingly, we don’t call someone who exhibits all of the personal characteristics of an entrepreneur – opportunity sensing, out-of-the-box thinking, and determination – yet who failed miserably in his or her venture an entrepreneur; we call them a business failure. Even someone like Jeff Bezos, the genius behind the Amazon behemoth, is called a serial entrepreneur only after his first success i.e., all prior failures are dubbed the work of a serial entrepreneur only after the occurrence of his first success. Before that, they are easily labelled as dreamers.
Eight months ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The life of every single person around the globe was upended. Since then, governments have struggled to contend not only with a public health crisis but with the economic fallout. Yet there have been rays of hope – often driven by innovative thinkers and doers looking not just to address urgent needs, but to change up entire systems. In other words, social entrepreneurs.
“COVID-19 has brought us new methods of troubleshooting to see how we can plug in gaps to bridging the divide between us and our clients more effectively.”
Imagineering In The Times Of COVID-19
“COVID-19 has brought us new methods of troubleshooting to see how we can plug in gaps to bridging the divide between us and our clients more effectively.” Explains Caroline, going into detail about how the world needs social entrepreneurs right now. Or rather, how the world needs hyper-practical, disruptive leaders who discard traditional practice to tackle gigantic social problems. COVID-19 is a holistic emergency. Just like climate change, gender inequality, racial injustice, and a whole range of other systemic issues that expose the cracks throughout the foundations of modern society.
Perhaps as testament to her brilliance and authenticity, this Jasiri, who was also the former COO of Stepwise Africa, announced she had sold her company and was in the same breath appointed Managing Director, Africa of Digital Divide Data aka DDD. When the very first post goes out, someone on Twitter declares Caroline as “very lucky.”
I cannot help but think she would attribute it to being a Jasiri. A leader. Emboldened. Treading the un-beaten path. Basically, an entrepreneur. The impact of social entrepreneurship goes well beyond health and into unemployment, food insecurity, economic disparities, inadequate education systems, and so much more. We stand at the nexus of multiple, colliding crises. We need to invest in converging solutions. Who better to find and implement those solutions than people like Caroline?