Recently I came up with a concept called “Social Entrepreneurship”. Though I have heard it a few times, frankly speaking, I was not well-versed on the topic. As I often write about money making ideas, entrepreneurship skills etc., I find the subject quite interesting. I decided to explore things much deeper and find out what’s there for my readers. I have explored some really cool social entrepreneurship ideas that the readers can go for.
Social Entrepreneurship Ideas
The word ‘Social’ has a multi-dimensional usability- ‘Social Service’, ‘Social Responsibility’, ‘Social Upliftment’ and now this ‘Social Entrepreneurship’. As an Indian, I am even familiar with a (ironical) concept called ‘Social Engineering’ often used by our political fraternity during elections.
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Social Entrepreneurship has a bigger implication on our society, on our life. Both traditional and social business ideas emerge out of the social needs, but there is a motivational difference with social entrepreneurship ideas. Traditional business ideas are driven by a solo motive i.e. monetary profitability. Whereas social entrepreneurship ideas focus on multiple bottom line business practices that lead to economical as well as social and environmental profitability.
Social Enterprise Ideas
1. Affordable Drinking Water:
While prioritising the social needs, it is of utmost importance to provide clean and safe drinking water to the socially disadvantaged people. This is a much-needed betterment that needs to be addressed vigorously especially in the developing worlds. A business model can be prepared to serve a large section of people with pure drinking water.
Impure drinking water is the primary source of any disease. According to WHO’ report, globally at least 2 billion people use a drinking source contaminated with faeces. Every year thousands of people die due to water born diseases. Building small water purification stations in communities using off the shelf products can mitigate the problem to a great extent. Moreover, manufacturing and distribution of low-cost portable water purification units can eventually raise living standards of the households.
2. Micro Finance:
“In my experience, poor people are the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Everyday, they must innovate in order to survive. They remain poor because they do not have the opportunities to turn their creativity into sustainable income.”– Muhammad Yunus, Pioneer of the concept of Microcredit and Microfinance.
A large section of our society is deprived of getting financial assistance to generate their sustainable income. In most of the cases, they are either ineligible to get bank loans or offered a high interest bearing credit. As a result, poor remains poor. A socially and economically downtrodden community. Whereas loans on easy terms can empower the financially backward classes to earn their bread with sustainability and dignity.
Affordable small loans, minimum documentation and lower interest rates than the commercial banks proved to be a great support for the economically backward societies. Microfinance or Micro-Credits can extend effective financial support to the small business owners, shopkeepers, artisans, farmers, street vendors etc. to be self-sufficient to bring a social change.
3. Affordable Renewable Energy:
Ever increasing pollution, global warming, toxic disgorgement leaving us nothing but an unliveable earth. As a human being, we have some duties towards our mother nature. The over-dependence on the fossil fuel is taking the toll on our environment. It’s a high time that we should embrace renewable energy in every sphere of our life.
Making equipment for generating renewable energy can be a good social entrepreneurship idea. Manufacturing or assembling of various products like solar panel plates, turbines, wind-mills, solar appliances etc. has a large yet unexplored market. It’s true that lots of players present in this field, but containing profitability at a lower level than the competitors can be a good opportunity for the newcomers. At the same time, it would be a pious effort to protect our environment from downfall.
4. Farmer’s Marketplace:
If we judge economic solvency, farmers as a community are the most deprived one. The scenario all over the world is almost same. The community is hit by multiple problems like over-dependence on weather, lack of irrigation facilities, poor infrastructure, lack of quality seeds, storage issues, outdated technologies, marketability etc. As a result, farmers are on the bottom of the earning community.
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As an entrepreneur, you can offer a plethora of services to the farmers and can make good business models out of it. Services like planting irrigation facilities, providing distribution chains, storage facilities, etc. can uplift the farming infrastructure and so as the profitability of the farmers. Extending technical support to the farmers for higher productivity, organic farming and procuring their produce for marketing or further processing will be economically beneficial for both the farmers and the entrepreneurs.
5. Affordable Health Care:
Every year tens of thousands of people die due to unattended medical aid. Although there are multiple reasons for such a deprivation, poverty and costly medical services often seen as a prime factor. The rising hospital bills and costly life-saving drugs, making quality medical treatments a thing of distant future for the poor. Malnutrition and maternity complications are often left unattended due to financial scarcity, especially in the developing countries.
This needs a serious intervention from the social entrepreneurs. There are multiple opportunities to serve the sector. Right from cheap medical services to reduced drug prices, entrepreneurs can opt-in for whatever he wants. Various studies show that most of the private companies engaged in medical and allied services and drug manufacturing and marketing exploit the community with a high amount of profit. As a social entrepreneur, you can have sufficient room to curtail such a big profit and pass on the benefits to the needy.
6. Build a Sports Club:
There are plenty of talented players who can’t afford sports career due to financial constraints. Amidst financial burden, many young talented players leave their career midway and go for traditional earning opportunities. It’s true that modern sports arena is highly competitive and demands sophisticated infrastructure for quality training of a sportsperson.
As an entrepreneur, this sector has lots of potential to curate young talents as well as generate money. Sports academies and clubs can contribute to a great extent in fine-tuning a player from a raw talent by extending modern infrastructure, quality training and by sponsorships. Playing commercial tournaments, attracting brand sponsorships are the best sources to generate revenue in this sector. As a social entrepreneur, it gives you the room to earn money as well as serve the social cause.
7. Cheap Sanitary Napkins
This is a major hygiene problem particularly in the developing and the under-developed countries around the world. Often women find it uneasy to discuss the menstrual things, their hygiene, openly out of modesty. A girl or a woman from a poor family finds it luxury to use sanitary napkins because of their high cost. As an alternative, they prefer some quack remedies which are unhealthy and unhygienic.
This is a burning issue that requires serious intervention from the social entrepreneurs providing sanitary napkins at an affordable price. A film has also been made on the issue based on the real-life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham. Moreover, they can concentrate on making cheap sanitary pads from bio-degradable materials. That would not only take care of the women’s but the health of nature too.
8. Affordable Housing
In my India, housing is a common problem in the middle as well as the lower income groups. Well, the problem persists around the world. A large section of the people still is not privileged enough to build their own home mostly due to financial constraints.
There are some real entrepreneurial scopes present in the housing sector. Developing housing complexes at affordable prices may provide shelters to millions of people. It’s a good opportunity for an entrepreneur to move on to such projects as they would provide money as well as social security.
9. Waste Management Solution
In a country like India where stress has been put on cleanliness, business models based on waste management solution would undoubtedly find prominence. Solid and liquid waste management through modern technologies has witnessed some dramatic turnarounds. Waste management service is undoubtedly a much-needed measure that a modern society strives for.
Some effective business models based on the waste management system have already proven a good revenue generating source. The entire waste management solution is infrastructure based and hence required a big capital outlay as well as time-bound movements. But, it’s true that this social entrepreneurship idea has greater potential in generating money, at the same time present us an environment free of garbage and odour.
10. Cheaper Baby Foods
As per WHO (World Health Organisation), everyday near about 15000 children under age 5, die. And about 50% of the child mortality can be contributed to malnutrition. Obviously, the developing and the underdeveloped countries are the worst hit by the malnutrition. It’s become imperative on our part to think on the subject.
As an entrepreneur, it would be a noble effort to take measures in this regard. A step towards making and distribution of cheap and healthy baby foods to the underprivileged children can save thousands of lives. Although various Govts. and International bodies are actively engaged in providing nutritious foods to the children, yet it has left lots of room for an entrepreneur to grow. In fact, without private individual participation, a complete eradication of the problem is impossible.
Social entrepreneurship ideas in simple terms are the business with a humane face. When you work as a social entrepreneur, the best business practices are expected out of you. It would be of no use if you indulge in some social undoing to accomplish your business goals.
So, to establish yourself as a social entrepreneur, you need to have a high morale along with the other businessmen qualities. A successful social entrepreneur, undoubtedly a successful business person but at the same time an architect of a liveable society too.