For over 10 years since the political crisis and economic instability ended in 1997, Cambodia has been seen to start improving slowly with all its economic growth and development. Cambodia has then transformed itself to integrate in the world stage such as becoming a member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in 1999 and a member of WTO (World Trade Organization) in 2004. Like some other developing countries, in Cambodia, although there is an increasing number of manufacturing industry and business company and remarkable improvement of infrastructure in the urban areas, large proportions of people still remain poor especially farmers in the rural areas and numbers of low-educated people. The rise of these commercial and industrial enterprises not only has little impacts on poor people but it also enlarges the gap between the rich and the poor in the country. Therefore, it is an emergency that the role of social entrepreneurship is needed to help to sustain the economic growth and at the same help to solve the poverty issue. Below, I will define what social entrepreneurship is and how it is different compared to business entrepreneurship. Then I would analyse how it is important for all the developing countries to promote social entrepreneurship to fight against poverty and secure the growth of their economy.
What is Social Entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurship is defined as the process of creating innovative businesses that has the main core to benefit the society through getting people to support and implement to make a positive change. Social entrepreneur is an individual who is thriving to seek for every opportunity to benefit mainly the society and environment through their innovative and creative business ideas. A social entrepreneur recognizes social problems and uses their principles to create a venture to make a social change. The success and achievement of social entrepreneurs is measured by how much or how large is the impact of their ventures on the society. Their main aim is to target on improving the social and environmental goals (Casey 2008). The idea of making pure profit is not the main core objective of social entrepreneurs, which makes it apparently different from business entrepreneurs. To social entrepreneurs, profit is not an end in itself but it is a mean towards a social end. The main objective of social entrepreneurship is to solve the social issues. In other words, the centrality of social entrepreneurs is apparently to act towards the social missions (Orobia, n.d.).
Importance of the Promotion of Social Entrepreneurship
The importance of promotion of social entrepreneurship is that it brings positive change to the society with its objective is to prioritize the social development. In many developing countries, there are numbers of issues commonly arise such as poverty, food security, financial security, environmental pollution, illiteracy, inadequate energy use, health care, so on and so forth. Therefore, social entrepreneurs are to solve these problems and that is why we need these social entrepreneurs to create new ideas to solve the basic human needs problems.
The following benefit of the promotion of social entrepreneurship is that it helps to sustain the economic growth. Since social entrepreneurship helps to improve the living and the welfare of the people, then people will be able to survive and sustain their own livings independently. Therefore, poverty and other human basic needs will no longer become the burden of the country or the government. Then government will be able use the national budget to focus on other developments such as infrastructure, public health care, transportation, and so on.
Models of the World Successful Social Entrepreneurs
Grameen Bank was founded by a Nobel Peace Prize 2006, Muhammad Yunus, which was awarded for his initiative of creating microcredits, small banks provided loans to poor people to develop their business. It is worth to note that while his business venture becomes successful through helping many poor people through the small loans, the business also got a profit return spontaneously. That money would be continuously provided to the poor for the future loan contribution. This idea has inspired and motivated many young entrepreneurs to seek for more opportunities to create such kind of business ideas (Anonymous, 2006).
Ashoka is a global association which was established in 1981 with a purpose of choosing social entrepreneurs who have the creative mind to find the solutions for the worldâ€™s most urgent social problems. Ashoka provides these social entrepreneurs with living support, professional training, have a connection with other members in over 70 countries. Their objective is that these entire social entrepreneurs will be able to collaborate and stay connected widely with one another and be a powerful change in their countries (Ashoka 2010).
Although the concept of social entrepreneurship is relatively new for some countries, its role has been very significant and it will be the best alternative for the developing countries to meet their individual main objectives to sustain the economic growth and at the same time to alleviate poverty. It is important that developing countries take immediate actions to promote social entrepreneurship widely and encourage the new generation of social entrepreneurs through below effective mechanisms:
The government could play some roles to promote the social entrepreneurship through media advertisement as social entrepreneurs also take parts in the society and share the governmentâ€™s burdens to solve the societal problems.
Promotion of Social Business Competition within the country or within the region or even outside of the region could also encourage students to participate in the challenging competition in creating new and creative business ideas that could be both profitable and beneficial to the society.
Business School shall also add Social Entrepreneurship Degree or module course to teach all business students of social entrepreneurship so that they would know the value and importance of their future business contribution to the society rather than finding ways to earn the profit solely for themselves without having any impacts on the society.