By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Do you want to make money or make a difference? This is the choice that faces most students just out of college. Some rationalize a third way with the prospect of philanthropy down the road, but the dilemma remains an uncomfortable one.
The rising discipline of social entrepreneurship promises both, combining practical business know-how with a higher social purpose. Ten years since its inception, the idea is clearly delivering results and now being embraced by the big business establishment and governments alike. Only last June did the White House announced that “impact investors are leading the way” to solving our most important problems, as part of a round table discussion that raised $1.5 billion in new funds from investors, foundations, and corporations.
The definition of social entrepreneurship is still extremely broad, encompassing large commercial brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Warby Parker (the latter donated one million pairs of glasses to people in need), as well as smaller ventures such as KIVA’s microfinance platform.
A given organization’s mission may be anything from clean water, to education, to housing. And efforts are increasingly combining both private sector and government: in 2013 the G8 set up its very first ‘Social Impact Investment Taskforce’, coordinating both government and non-government representatives in participating countries.
Through these efforts, it appears profit has found its higher purpose, and the rest of the world is catching on.
This week BreakThru News spoke with Jenna Nicholas, CEO and Co-Founder of Phoenix Global Impact, a social enterprise consulting firm, on this thriving field, its current turning-point, and the issues surrounding it. BTN’s final question for Jenna—it is overwhelming trying to save the world?
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
Script Supervisor – Matthew DeMello
with guest – Jenna Nicholas