We have all come to accept that we live in a world of stereotypes. But we’ve never realized just how far these preconceived ideas have managed to hold us back. And when I say us, I mean humans – all of us. We’ve put people, occupations, and aspirations into tidy, little boxes and are ever so reluctant to see beyond them.
This is where the idea of social entrepreneurship is quite fitting. It messes with these boxes. Long story short, social entrepreneurship is about doing good while making money. In a world where corporate “suits” are thought of as greedy, profit-maximizing beasts (a-la Billy Walsh from the TV show Entourage) and the mention of development workers conjures an image of selfless Peace Corp volunteers or Ivy League applicants spending a summer in Africa – it seems these two profiles are completely foreign to one another. But, who said that the two interests have to be mutually exclusive? A social enterprise is a for-profit business model designed to tackle social problems. It employs the Peace Corp volunteer and the corporate suit, it seeks profits as well as social development, and it upholds both interests equally.
At a time in Egypt where our social problems have exponentially increased, it is only inevitable we start seeking this way forward. Instead of constantly noting our growing list of social challenges, why not do something about it? Everything from our power supply, to poverty, illiteracy, health and nutrition, our infinite solid waste can all be transformed into a savvy business that serves a dual purpose, and makes a ton of money, at that.
I would say it’s time to mix our stereotypes, the black and white, and our tidy little boxes and seek alternatives that can be equally beneficial for all. Everyone in his or her own way has the ability to be a social entrepreneur, it’s a matter of realizing that this shade of grey exists, and it’s the most sustainable way forward.
We Said This: Time to profit from our problems!