• Rozanne Henzen

Thoughts: Social Entrepreneurship vs. Sustainability

Two weeks ago I started a new course at the Stockholm School for Entrepreneurship called Social Entrepreneurship. A subject that's very close to my heart and that I've been focussing on for a while now. During our second lecture we had a very interesting discussion about the conditions of social entrepreneurship and what it meant for us.

We encountered non-consensus in our group as we spoke about the definition: not everyone agreed on the same conditions. To me social entrepreneurship is about a healthy and harmonizing relationship between the 3 P’s: people, planet and profit. While taking the 3 P’s into consideration an enterprise strives for an equal and healthy future for our planet and all the people that live on it, minimizing the negative environmental impacts while working towards this future.

But, the sustainable part of my definition was not a condition for everyone. Is not taking sustainability into account, thus creating problems elsewhere in the world, really social entrepreneurship? What does it mean, for example with the 'buy one, give one' model, that you give away a product to a person in need, while the people who make them work in poor conditions and you pollute our precious earth with the production materials while producing them? To me that does not mean social entrepreneurship, to me that means hypocrisy.

While tackling a specific social problem, or helping out a group in need, a social enterprise should not create problems elsewhere in the world for other people or for our planet. Like I said, to me harmony between 3 P’s belongs to the definition of social entrepreneurship and I hope to convince my group of that. If I do not succeed in that: then our project has not succeeded for me.

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