Though BeadforLife has been involved in social entrepreneurship since its inception; the movement has been gaining steam. A Harvard Business Review report shows MBA courses with social enterprise content doubling in number since 2010. As elite undergraduate business schools incorporate social value into their mission statements, many wonder, ‘what exactly is social entrepreneurship?’
In 1998, Gregory Dees wrote a pivotal article called The Meaning of “Social Entrepreneurship”. Dees explains that social entrepreneurship “combines the passion of a social mission with an image of business-like discipline, innovation, and determination commonly associated with, for instance, the high-tech pioneers of Silicon Valley.” Social entrepreneurs or “change agents,” as Dee calls them, “have a high tolerance for ambiguity” and “treat failure as a learning experience.” This resilience is critical for successful social entrepreneurs, especially when defining the value of their work in the global economic market.
To demonstrate social entrepreneurialism in action, we introduce Rose: a woman from Uganda who’s experienced an extremely challenging life.
At times, working strenuously only to bring home $1 a day. Eventually, she found her way into social entrepreneurialism by enrolling in Street Business School. Six months later, Rose graduated from SBS with a stable charcoal business. Her income soared to $4 per day.
BeadforLife co-founder Torkin Wakefield recently visited Rose’s home and saw a woman radiating hope and joy. “She danced and clapped her charcoal covered hands. Dust exploded as she patted my back, pulling me to her bosom!” said Torkin.
Through a translator, Rose exclaimed, “I used to be a backdoor person that no one noticed. Now, I am in the front and everyone sees me!!”
Street Business School business curriculum is designed to empower women to become their own “change agents”; despite their challenging situations. The resilience it takes to be a social entrepreneur is obvious in every woman that enrolls in SBS. Rose is what social entrepreneurism looks like in the real world. It looks like confidence, belief, and bravery during times despair. It looks like hope, joy and the energy to move forward. Maybe even clouds of charcoal dust swirling in the air.