Social Entrepreneurship, Really?

One of the things that struck me about the first chapter of our text, Entrepreneurship Strategy, was the need for a separate definition describing a type of entrepreneurship based in providing a form social value. This second definition implies a that traditional entrepreneurship has evolved into a form far removed from providing value for the customer base which drives its success. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a part of the this consumerist society and have seen rise and fall of monolithic corporations like Enron. Yet, if one accepts the definition of entrepreneurship as the ability to seize opportunity for profit, the idea of taking unfair advantage of one’s customer base and sucking said opportunity dry is in direct opposition to long term profitability and business longevity. A second definition for social entrepreneurship also implies an acceptance that society will allow certain corporations to profit at its expense rather than enforcing a direct correlation between profitability and social value. This second implication is the most troubling as it stems from a much larger societal (although more U.S. centric) epidemic–the belief that everything is disposable. As we’ve seen, as this logic plays out, the consumer himself becomes vulnerable because he is also disposable. Social entrepreneurship may be a an attempt to reestablish the bonds between a business and the consumers it serves, but only time will tell if it once again will be the rule or merely an exception.

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