Did you know that 540WMain initially started as a for profit social enterprise. However I quickly realized that not many in Rochester knew what that meant let alone understood the concept of social entrepreneurship, conscious capitalism or like terms so I adjusted our mission to be non-profit but at the core we are a social enterprise.
According to the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship; A social entrepreneur is a leader or pragmatic visionary who:
As the Founder and Executive Director of 540WMain I consider myself a social entrepreneur. Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations. Contrary to myth these organizations can be for profit or not-for-profit.
Social entrepreneurs share some come common traits including:
Social entrepreneurship about applying practical, innovative and sustainable approaches to benefit society in general, with an emphasis on those who are marginalized, underrepresented, and impoverished. One has to capture a unique approach to economic and social problems, an approach that cuts across sectors and disciplines grounded in certain values and processes that are common to each social entrepreneur, independent of whether his/ her area of focus has been education, health, welfare reform, human rights, workers’ rights, environment, economic development, agriculture, etc., or whether the organizations they set up are non-profit or for-profit entities.
In a nutshell, organizations (like 540WMain) and their leaders vested in a conscious capitalist approach to business are concerned with more than just their bottom line. The vision is all about recognizing critical societal needs and achieving social change by employing the basic tenants of entrepreneurship to solve these problems. Its usually a lifelong process that focuses on getting to the root of the issues by looking at the systems that are in place and understanding that the problems may or may not be eliminated.
Learn more about real life social enterprises below: