Why We Need Social Entrepreneurs

Yesterday, on my way to the supermarket in my neighborhood, a man was waiting at the exit. My age, clean, and wearing a mask. He asked me if I could buy him something to eat. That man could have been me. Or you. To see millions of people lose their jobs and sink into precariousness without having enough to eat is unbearable. Unacceptable. If we anticipated such a change, few of us thought it would happen so quickly. But a pandemic has only accelerated it.

Now that the pandemic is here and its devastation has only just begun, we need to find solutions to facilitate job creation, and quickly.

I mentioned intrapreneurship as a solution in one of my previous posts. I would add that entrepreneurship with a social and sustainable goal would be even better.

Because it is more than ever time to accelerate the advent of a new form of enterprise, more human, more supportive and, above all, meaningful.

But there is a catch… Entrepreneurship is difficult. It requires courage, perseverance, discipline, sacrifice and risk-taking. When we undertake, we must accept to be alone in the difficult moments and still find the energy necessary to give us the boost that will allow us to surface and breathe again. And even more so when it comes to creating a positive and inspiring impact.

To fulfill these conditions, we must first find a purpose. Without it, without a just cause, one would have to be crazy to embark on such a roller coaster. Hence the need to proceed step by step, while keeping in mind the goal one has decided to embark on.

Unfortunately, few people find the inspiration to create their life project. And even less are ready to take the step. Especially when it comes to surviving and keeping your job, while still paying your bills. But you don’t have to be a visionary to start, nor do you have to drop everything. You can also embrace a vision and be inspired by it.

Just as it’s possible to cross the Rubicon when you’re ready and prepare for it alongside your business if you’re lucky enough to have one.

It is not imperative to have the entrepreneurial spirit to act. You can also give meaning to your work or join a company that places meaning at the heart of its DNA.

Meaning is the inspiration, the “North Star” that will guide the future direction of the entrepreneur’s journey. It is the right cause that will motivate him, that will make him get up early in the morning, that will make him persevere in moments of doubt and despair.

A good cause is not necessarily something unattainable when you are alone, like eradicating poverty in the world, it can be as much about trying to make the best bread in the world, as it is about teaching children the values that will make them more resilient in life.

The most important thing is to be able to do something that makes sense and answers the question that everyone must ultimately ask themselves, which is why we are on earth and what our mission should be. Again, it’s not necessarily about finding it on our own, but finding a mission that we can relate to and that we can relate to. It can be a mission that we buy into.

Once the right cause is found, the (social) entrepreneur must find a way to bring it to life.

To do this, and like any business, he or she must choose the right method, and be careful not to stray an inch from the vision by giving in to the sirens of greed and losing his authenticity.

As Simon Sinek says in his book “The Infinite Game”, it’s not about winning, but about lasting by playing a game with no rules, no defined number of players and following a just cause that must be pursued indefinitely and relentlessly.

This is probably the most difficult part and the one that requires the most courage and perseverance. Indeed, how can we not give in to the easy way in difficult times and earn a few extra dollars, even if it means being unfaithful to the just cause we have promised ourselves to defend?

For what is more inspiring and what is the message we would like to leave to those who survive us? What would we like to see written on our grave?

Here lies Felix the Cat, the one who managed to merge company X with company Y? The one who ended up with x million dollars in his bank account? Or do we want to be remembered for the things we did for others?

I still want to believe that from the rubble left by this pandemic will emerge a new form of economy that is more sustainable and above all more supportive. But we need to encourage and accelerate its emergence by moving from a mindset dominated by the idea of getting rich at any cost to one driven by a cause greater than ourselves. Not that making a profit is bad, on the contrary. It is obviously necessary. But it cannot be at the expense of the ultimate reason why our life is worth living, a life of service. The one does not go without the other.

The second necessary condition that will allow us to meet this challenge is to encourage social entrepreneurship and to help those who take the risk to create a more just society.

We must recognize their efforts, facilitate their access to credit, help them get back on their feet in difficult times and move forward.

Now, more than ever, it is time to change our mentality and finally promote these entrepreneurs and make them the new heroes of tomorrow.