A Leading Social Entrepreneur Appointed to an Academic Role
Maggie O’Carroll, an influential voice in the welfare of women and social enterprise was recently appointed to play an important academic role as a Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. She hopes to expand and develop a more inclusive approach that is socially focused on entrepreneurial education and research in the field. Maggie, a social entrepreneur based at Liverpool and a leading voice internationally in support of women’s enterprise accepted the role and will be discharging her responsibilities at the university’s Business school at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Maggie is a Cambridge graduate and a co-founder of The Women’s Organization, a social enterprise that is recognized internationally that has supported more than 70,000 women by encouraging them to take an active role in economic and social life. The organization, in which she serves as the CEO has created more than 4,000 businesses since its birth back in 1996. The Women’s Organization was listed among the top 1% of the UK’s Social Enterprises in the SE100 Index this year. SE100 Index is the leading source of market intelligence in the country on social enterprise.
Maggie is working on an international scale to ensure that the interests of women are represented well across business, communities and government policy. She is supporting the women’s agenda at very high levels and she widely speaks on issues relating to the employment of women and entrepreneurship.
The university acknowledged that she will be an important component in the institution as her agenda on social entrepreneurship and issues of women are key areas that the university is interested and thus she will play a key role in their research.
Social Entrepreneurship’s Exponential Growth in India
Within the past decade, it would have been seen as a fat joke if anyone stood to declare their interest in social entrepreneurship. Then, it was based on charity work and just working within a community to help solve the prevailing problems, and not as a profit-making business entity. However, the narrative has changed recently because of a new model that social entrepreneurs have taken in the running of their businesses. The change of model from being an optional corporate charity to becoming essential businesses that will help many organizations to focus on building a sustainable future is a big plus for social entrepreneurship. This new model has gained popularity in the world with technology-driven progressive and leaders who are socially responsible, mostly the millennials.
A brand new breed of citizens has risen and is striving to create an impact in the community in several sectors, as a result solving some of the most intractable problems of the world including climate change, sustainable agriculture, global health, conscious capitalism and renewable energy.
The most important factor that has led to this shift in the model is the development of social innovation in social entrepreneurship. Social innovators and entrepreneurs have come together and have believed that they can bring the change needed in India. This has led to the development of a genuine desire for joining the sector. Through this, several innovative policies have been advanced in India such as innovative funding, impact incubators, exponential communities, co-working culture and many others that are helping transform social entrepreneurship into the real game-changer in the business in India. As a result, social enterprises are mushrooming and booming like never before.
This is the question and dilemma in the hearts of most social entrepreneurs in the recent past. There has been a rise in the rate at which social entrepreneurship has grown in the community. A study has revealed that out of four persons to start a business, one wants to start a social enterprise. Sustainability question is arising because of the model that the business took. It aims at solving the challenging social problems in a community, thus more focused on the solution of the problem than it is committed to making profits. In simple terms, social entrepreneurship has got its target primarily as social impact, rather than maximizing profits even as they do their best to reach the groups that are most vulnerable in the communicate, to achieve inclusive sustainable growth. The big question is, however, their sustainability.
From recent studies, it is evident that most entrepreneurs who would wish to start a social enterprise do not even have enough money to set up the business, leave alone running it. This thus makes for-profit enterprises more sustainable in their cause because they work hard to maximize profits as they do what they do. There have been claims around the world that the future belonged to social entrepreneurs while others claimed that the for-profit enterprise could be the “impact model of the future.”
Because of the nature of the market, social entrepreneurship has to battle between the economics of the market and the voluntary sector. There is a need to strike a balance between their social concerns with the commercial principles hence there are so many discussions happening to help the social entrepreneurs to manage this situation.
Sustainable Entrepreneurial Ventures need Social Innovation
BBVA Momentum program has revealed that money is not everything for an entity that aspires to create a great impact. According to them, the ability to support communities, conducting training, ensuring visibility and support that is strategically placed are the main pillars for the attainment of great impact. This is a conclusion that was reached after a virtual meeting that was organized by The Next Web in partnership with the Financial Times. This was organized to assess their program, BBVA Momentum, since it had been featured for best practices in supporting social entrepreneurship. The meeting was held to essentially stress on the rising need for sustainability in all ventures on entrepreneurship and the great value embedded in investing in social innovation that has an impact.
During the meeting, Maria Erquiaga gave an overview of how the program and its history from the time it was hatched in 2011 and how it has moved on to impact communities many communities in Spain. She explained how to went on expanding to Mexico and its impact became even greater in the year 2017. At this point, there was a need to expand the program to the international scope hence renaming it from the previous the Momentum Project to BBVM Momentum Project.
Due to its increased impact, it expanded geographically hence being able to reach other countries such as Turkey, the US and Columbia. The program operates in six countries and has helped close to 684 entrepreneurs to grow using the empowerment approach to providing sustainability through social innovation. Its beneficiaries have found their way to secure safe places in the market place, thanks to BBVM.