National Entrepreneur's Day - How to Get Involved As a Social Entrepreneur
National Entrepreneur's Day, first declared by President Obama in 2010 and still celebrated today, is held on the third Tuesday of every November (November 16, 2021). It seeks to recognize and honor people who have built companies, social enterprises, and small business organizations from the ground up.
A little background
The meaning of the word Entrepreneur comes from the French word for the verb to undertake. It dates back to 1723, and its underlying concept has been the object of study for more than four centuries.
An 18th-century economist once defined an entrepreneur as someone who makes a purchase at a certain price in order to resell it at an uncertain price. In other words, entrepreneurship was and is all about risk. By the 20th century, entrepreneurs were those who could recognize new ideas and convert them into financially successful innovations.
Kinds of entrepreneurs today
Economists generally place entrepreneurs into one of three groups:
- Creators - Focused on one specific product or idea, the creator is usually brilliant and pours out new ideas. On the other hand, they may find focusing on one project to be boring and challenging.
- Builders - These people take an existing idea and build an empire around it. Oftentimes, a good salesperson can build a company. Builders tend to be good motivators and obtain satisfaction from the growth process.
- Operators - Bringing order to a new business with process and procedures, the operator is usually detail-oriented and focused on long-term growth goals.
But, there is another kind of entrepreneur to take note of this National Entrepreneur's Day - one whose focus is on social values rather than business growth. The social entrepreneur pursues opportunities to create social value through innovative ways to address critical social and environmental needs. This person is creative, resourceful, and results-oriented.
Together, these innovative thinkers continually reinvent and rebuild their cultures, creating an ever-changing marketplace and society.
The work of the social entrepreneur
Net Impact works to inspire emerging leaders to build a more just and sustainable world. In other words, Net Impact seeks to work with students and up-and-coming leaders to find and support rising social entrepreneurs. In doing so, Net Impact recognizes four groups:
- Community social entrepreneur- This category, usually made up of an individual or small group, seeks to serve and change the smaller community in a narrow geographical area. Goals are limited and often directed toward marginalized members of society. The idea of microfinance, offering small loans to those with no other access to credit, is a well-known and highly successful example of the work of the community social entrepreneur.
- Non-profit social entrepreneur - These people focus on social rather than financial gain. They tend to rely on available funding, and profits, if any, are reinvested. Goodwill Industries is a classic example. The slow but steady progress of this entrepreneur can create social change on a somewhat larger scale. They and their programs are easy to join for those seeking to learn their methods.
- Transformational social entrepreneur - This category aims to create a business to meet social needs that are not currently being met by governments and other businesses. Often, non-profits move on to become transformational social entrepreneurs. The Social Innovation Warehouse is an example of this trend.
- Global social entrepreneur - These people want to utterly transform social systems in response to global needs. This is where many big companies, often innovators themselves, turn to exercise their social responsibility. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on the fight against poverty, disease and inequity worldwide, is a classic example of a creator/builder becoming a global social entrepreneur.
Celebrate National Entrepreneur's Day and get involved as a social entrepreneur
As you can see, there are diverse paths to entrepreneurship, in particular to social entrepreneurship. None of them happen merely by chance. If you're interested in pursuing a career to follow your passion for change, Net Impact offers local chapters, career advice, and resources to assist you.
Discover more about social entrepreneurship here!