A guest blog post by Juliana Rotich.
When we think of societal transformation, we imagine a rigorous activism geared toward changing a political system or advancing a social cause. Rarely, do we look at the ways in which our day-to-day today labor can bring about the same change while creating revenue. This is how I view social entrepreneurship; it is not just an extension of the nonprofit sector, but a business opportunity. In working toward the creation of new social value, social entrepreneurship embraces the visions of both nonprofit and business culture.
Whereas entrepreneurship starts with the recognition and evaluation of an opportunity, social entrepreneurship carries on to establish what critical societal needs this venture will serve. At the heart of most social entrepreneurship ventures, you will find a persistent resolve to address social problems of poverty and marginalization. A perfect example is the use of technology to foster inclusivity and build capacity in local communities. If we examine the various ways technology has extended our capabilities, and more importantly has inspired interconnectedness, we can see how digital entrepreneurs might use these aspects to meet the needs of marginalized groups around the world. But efforts to bring a voice to the voiceless must be sustainable. We must devise inclusive ideas that can be incorporated into the larger socio-political framework to affect future regulation and policies.
Juliana is co-founder of Ushahidi Inc and BRCK Inc., and is a trustee of the iHub. She serves as strategic advisor on the councils of BASF and Microsoft 4Afrika, and is an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow and TED Senior Fellow.