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Sociopreneurship: The Advent of Social Enterprising

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Incorporating social activism and corporate welfare into businesses

A sociopreneur or social entrepreneur is an enterprising individual that starts a non-profit business venture to include or encompass marginalized communities that have been overlooked, neglected or abandoned by the government. With social entrepreneurship, it is basically a business of helping the poor, defending the underprivileged, as well as upholding social justice. Our own innermost desire or wish to help the poor and to make an impact in someone else’s life drives us to contribute in cash and kind towards noble causes as well as philanthropic activities. Collaborating with welfare organizations and providing financial aid to underprivileged citizens also assists in transforming their lives for the better. Improving the people’s standard of living and alleviating their financial burdens are truly charitable causes with noble intentions. It is also the inner calling of most people that drives them to contribute back to society. The on-going social media revolution certainly creates a significant difference within the lives of others. Online contributions have never been more productive and meaningful.

 

Many charitable and philanthropic activities worldwide involve the participation of non-governmental organizations. It is an innate human desire to inspire and initiate social change which can influence or impact society at large on a global scale. Renowned technopreneur Bill Gates himself regular donates millions of dollars annually through the iconic Melinda & Gates Foundation, an NGO established by Microsoft to combat global poverty and eradicate pandemic diseases worldwide. NGOs generally survive by donor contributions and may be dictated or dominated by the interest and ambition of their patrons. NGOs also bridge the gap between governmental initiative and societal prerequisites. The adoption of practical solutions derived from critical innovations remain somewhat a distant dream for the mass population at the present moment. When core technologies become accessible to the majority, the needs or requirements of the population will then be fulfilled. Subsequently, marginalized segments of society will also be able to reap the respective rewards and benefits. An essential step towards solving this socioeconomic conundrum is to come up with a cheap and viable product which specifically targets the rural population. Subsequently, commercialize the product and create the necessary platform for a social enterprise to spark or invoke social change, and not solely for profiteering per se.

 

Take the case-study of Manoj Bhargava, an Indian-born American maverick innovator whose company has lofty visions in transforming the lives of millions worldwide. His ‘Billions In Change’ foundation literally pledges millions annually to fund rural projects and other strategic developments to eradicate hardcore poverty. A billionaire philanthropist, genius inventor and avid researcher, he has pledged most of his hard-earned money to charity. ‘Stage 2 Innovations’ was created with the sole purpose and objective of improving lives and saving Mother Earth. Making up its core technological initiatives are clean energy, pure water and advanced medical technology which would subsequently benefit mankind once mass produced and fully implemented. Ground-breaking innovations which inspire total-living concepts often require time for adoption and the realization to drive social change. In an ever-disconnect world, those with the financial resources should be encouraged to bridge the widening socioeconomic gap or chasm between the wealthy and the poor. Monetary concerns and business profits must be left to secondary considerations. The social entrepreneur generally applies the principles of business and entrepreneurship to explore unfulfilled requirements, producing financial rewards not only for the exclusive benefit of minority parties within the community. To enable social change, we need to embark and leverage on human diversity in both capital and knowledge in order to spur or stimulate financial growth, as well as to regenerate and reinvigorate social development. Financial inclusion is also a key factor or stimulus for social change to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Socioeconomic divides and deficits, among other issues, need to be properly addressed and carefully scrutinized to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and national security.

 

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has always been a recurring theme amongst entrepreneurs and corporations. Sociopreneurs are all about providing service to the public and doing things for the overall common good. Advancements in technology continue to establish good rapport and to unite people under an entrepreneurial or business platform. Companies that offer CSR and other social services are generally favoured and adored by the masses. With the advent of social media, the internet has grown by leaps and bounds. Blogs, portals, forums, BBMs, IMs (instant messaging apps) and other forms of online communication tools are spreading like wildfire across the web. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube have recently become powerful engines of growth behind modern enterprises. Getting one’s message across to one’s client or the audience is no longer confined by physical boundaries or infrastructure limitations. Modern entrepreneurs also need to keep abreast of the latest ideas and creative trends across the globe to remain relevant and to stay ahead of the competition. Typical sociopreneurs garner support through their services to local communities as well as the general public. Social services performed by sociopreneurs generally form the crux of their CSR initiatives, which are dedicated to public service and society.

 

Those living in castles and ivory towers are usually out of touch with the realities of society at the rudimentary level. The great divide between the rich and the poor has grown unimaginably vast throughout the years. Sometimes the rich must learn to get down to the ground and make contact with the grassroots in order to experience for themselves the adversity as well as sufferings faced by the poor. Whatever the wealth disparity (i.e. an imbalanced distribution of wealth), we as inhabitants of this planet ought to take proactive measures to do our part to help those in need. Those with abundant resources should also do more to help their fellow human-beings. If we could empower the poor in helping themselves, poverty itself would surely cease to exist. It is all about pushing the barrier or the limits of human accomplishment. We all have the potential or prospect to do greater good. People who benefit from financial support would naturally proceed to help others as well. In today’s materialistic society, as well as an increasingly disconnect world plunged into constant political turmoil and continuous economic uncertainty, the quest for financial gain or profit remains a steadfast priority. Until the time when profits no longer takes precedence over people’s lives, and when money is no longer glorified, only then we will witness a real paradigm shift in human mentality. But as long as capitalism continues to thrive, we will continue to be enslaved by money and all its pleasurable evil$… – HFM

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