Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Social entrepreneurship - No such thing as "Rara Avis"!

"Rara Avis" = "rare bird" in Latin...

Or think of AVIS as.... Any Venture Is Social! That AVIS better not be "rara" ;)

To paraphrase my compadre, Bill Drayton of Ashoka, any good social entrepreneur thinks like a great entrepreneur; any great entrepreneur thinks like a social entrepreneur.

Lots of hype about the "triple bottom line" and "People, Planet, Profits" but there is a reality there. Great ventures are sustainable: Environmentally sustainable, socially sustainable and economically sustainable. It is VERY hard to sustain your venture without all three.

Missionary NOT Mercenary
Entrepreneurs are in the business of creating rents - but never lose sight of the truth that entrepreneurs create rents for others. Ideally, they create rents (economic and non-economic) for as many of their stakeholders as they possibly can. If they're good at it, then they create rents for themselves.

I have NEVER understood how hard it is for many people - especially business professors - to get that Entrepreneurs Pay Themselves Last. ("residual claimants" in econ-speak)

Dell Social Innovation Challenge, William James Foundation, et al.
I just finished evaluating 14 proposals for the Dell Challenge, proposals from students all over the world. What a joy and what an honor to help. Many thanks to Rob Hanna for involving me. I try to never miss an opportunity to judge for Ian at the William James Foundation. Different format, but also a joy and a privilege to see if I can add value to some terrific potential (and existing) ventures.

Note: I recommend judging for these - I will hook you up, if interested!

Munich Social Entrepreneurship Weekend
Amazing to see how this was perfectly natural in Munich - they already have a Social Entrepreneurship Academy (next one this fall) and the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (www.sce-web.de) has student teams doing sustainable ventures, including a delightful focus on urban farming. (Chalmers School of Entrep's Karl Palmas was right: Urban farming will be HUGE.) The four key Munich schools are collaborating & I think we're going to see an explosion of connecting among these programs & I think the Academy will be the key driver of that. Witness Ludwig Maximiliens Univ's new IDEEN Garage [see Facebook] which will be a great incubator for sustainable ventures [see my pictures on Facebook for both IDEEN Garage and my talks at SCE],

Why aren't we doing this in Idaho?????? (and who wants to help?!)

The Godfather of Social Entrepreneurship
Bill Drayton founded Ashoka [www.ashoka.org]; he coined the phrase 'social entrepreneurship' way back in 1980. Ten years ago, I got Bill to speak to the Academy of Management. Little guy with a thin voice and overhead transparencies, speaking to several hundred highly skeptical entrepreneurship & management professors.

And he blew away the room. 

Holy crap!

Now social entrepreneurship is mainstream. If seeing opportunities is the heart of entrepreneurship, then social entrepreneurship is its soul. But if Bill read that, he'd laugh and remind me what he said back in 2002: ANY good social entrepreneur thinks like a great entrepreneur; ANY great entrepreneur thinks like a social entrepreneur.

Now Bill has agreed to do it again here in 2012, this time at NYU's great social/sustainable entrepreneurship conference that brings together the very best educators, scholars and practitioners to, yes, look how far we've come but, more important, where are we headed?

Ashoka's new mantra is "Everyone a changemaker." So how can I help YOU to make a needed change?

Entrepreneurs WILL transform the world. They're the only ones who actually can. Which means...

YOU will transform the world... My friends and I stand ready to help!

Isn't a GREAT time to be alive??

NK/ Boise, ID May 2012.
norris.krueger[at]gmail.com; @entrep_thinking; https://www.facebook.com/norris.krueger

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