You’re probably very well aware of the dilemmas within the world of business ethics. I’ll give a few stereotypical examples:
If you buy fast fashion, you’re likely supporting the exploitation of the people who make your clothes.
If you buy processed food, you can’t always be sure of exactly what you’re putting in your body.
If you use disposable bags, you’re directly contributing to the crisis of plastic over production we currently have on planet Earth.
Outside of fast commercial solutions, we then have the examples of corruption from organisations that front as public service.
The list could go on and on, but I’m not here to name names. I just wanted to set the scene for why I strongly believe the world needs more social entrepreneurs.
What is a social entrepreneur?
A social entrepreneur is the beacon of light that stands up and says “Actually, no, we don’t have to do it like this to achieve our goals.”
They’re the voice of hope that tells us how we don’t have to just accept that people will go unclothed without exploitation, or that people need to go hungry without processed meals of convenience. We DON’T have to settle for the information already out there.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes social entrepreneurship as,
“…the process by which individuals, startups and entrepreneurs develop and fund solutions that directly address social issues. A social entrepreneur, therefore, is a person who explores business opportunities that have a positive impact on their community, in society or the world.”Source
But how is it ethical for an entrepreneur to profit from a social cause?
A social entrepreneur business is just like any other business. It offers a solution to a problem. The biggest difference is that it’s a brand driven by the positive change they want to make in the world. Unlike a traditional business where the main priority is in generating revenue and maximising profit.
A social entrepreneur is concerned with their bigger impact on the world and therefore, centres their business practices around those ethics.
Wanna know what I think? Every Muslim business owner has a natural potential to be a social entrepreneur. In Islaam, there is a strong emphasis on “loving for your brother what you love for yourself”.
We’re taught to stand up for what’s right,
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he cannot do so, then with his tongue. If he cannot do so, then with his heart, which is the weakest level of faith.”Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 49. Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim
Shifting the top priority from your own profits and personal gains to an all-serving view of how your business impacts the people around you is not only a better way to do business, it also has the potential for rewards in the hereafter.
Why we need more social entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurship is a means to revolutionise industries and empower people at the same time. By leading a business guided by ethics, with our mission at the forefront, we can change the way people do things for the better.
It was this realisation that led me to incorporate more on ‘leadership’ into The Brandz Bee, because it encompasses what it really takes to run a business with a cause.
If we want to make the world a better place and raise the next generations in an environment that nourishes them in their hearts and bodies, we need to step up and take the lead.
There’s plenty of coverage of ethical issues within businesses who don’t mind being evil if it makes money. But we need solutions.
Social entrepreneurship allows you to fulfil your entrepreneurial skill or talent whilst aligning your business in a way that does no harm.
We need more leaders who go beyond personal gains to educate and inspire the masses.
The question of whether earning profit contradicts leading a social cause is null once we realise that a social entrepreneur runs a business just like any other business. With a focus on doing so ethically to create a positive impact on the world around them, they create a culture that is mutually beneficial for themselves and the people they serve.