This piece first appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat. Struggling to re-enter society with nothing but lost time and the additional burden of a criminal record, ex-offenders have a 76.6% chance of being rearrested within five years. This is dramatic evidence of the failure of the so-called “punishment” or “retributive” approach to criminal justice, which promises…
etterWordBooks is an example of a growing trend within the US and across the globe to define their businesses in terms of improving the welfare and prospects for marginalized people and communities. Using a sustainable business model where profits also serve their social mission, children, families, and the planet benefit.
Millennial entrepreneurs have a critical role to play in the long-term health of the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, right now they are MIA. Helping them get onto the startup field will better ensure their prosperity and well-being—and ours.
Building a business that makes a profit allows you to have more capital to invest into impact programs for your beneficiaries. If profit is allocated properly, impact is tremendous. Evidence of this was consistent throughout the Bali program as we visited social enterprises that trained and employed locals to carry out change in their communities directly through business approaches complemented with holistic, wrap-around supports.
Post graduation, I aspire to pursue a career in the hybrid non-profit and social entrepreneurship space in the developing world. While I have suitable experience on the non-profit side of things through different involvements with NGOs over my previous summers, before this internship I had never been directly involved with profit-focused entities. Accordingly, my time with VGS and PrivySeal served as my first real-life exposure to the business world and helped fill my experience void. Because of this, I can say with complete confidence that this summer allowed for enormous personal and professional growth and has brought me significantly closer to my eventual career goals.
Change will only come when we decide to take the first step. As social innovators, we must be bold enough to believe in the future we hope to create yet be humble enough to understand that most change happens slowly and, as such, we must remain steadfast. Complex social issues defy simple, straightforward solutions; they demand a deep understanding, our best ideas, a willingness to collaborate, and a long-term commitment. The Bali Immersion experience added an entirely unique and comprehensive layer to my undergraduate education, and I cannot imagine my time at Florida State without it.
In a nutshell, social entrepreneurship is the application of enterprise thinking and applications to solving social problems. Social enterprises vary in size and scope, ranging from the for-profit multinational Newman’s Own food company, which generates $600 million in sales annually, to local coffee shops such as Tallahassee’s non-profit Red-Eye Coffee.