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Power of socially supportive culture

Published: 
Sunday, July 22, 2018

Social entrepreneurs are individuals with creative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs create new organisations, new markets, and new ways of thinking and behaving in solidarity with poor communities to provide basic services, such as renewable energy, clean water, healthcare technologies, education, and access to financial services. Social entrepreneurs provide highly affordable products and services that can be bought by people living on a few dollars a day and can distribute these to poor communities.

One of the key characteristics of social entrepreneur is that of exemplifying a socially supportive culture. This is a culture of friendliness, supportiveness, co-operation, and helpfulness to provide a solution either in a product or service to those deserving. This power of socially supportive culture is particularly important for several reasons.

1 It serves as a model of co-operative and caring behaviour, which should influence more individuals within a society to choose social entrepreneurship as an occupation. Therefore, it affects the motivation and supply of potential social entrepreneurs in a country.

2 Social entrepreneurs face requirements similar to those of commercial entrepreneurs in terms of gaining access to and assembling resources. In this regard, social capital can lower transaction costs by enabling resource access through collaboration and co-operation (Meyskens et al, 2010; Meyskens et al, 2010).

3 In order to achieve social impact and introduce social change, social entrepreneurs need to build collaborative relationships with numerous diverse stakeholders (DiDomenico, Haugh, and Tracey, 2010; Mair and Marti, 2009).

4 The socially supportive culture provides an invaluable resource to social entrepreneurs for advice, human resources, innovative ideas/capabilities, financial and emotional support (Greve and Salaff, 2003; Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998).

What does this mean for sustainable development?

Since 2015, when the United Nations established a set of shared goals and targets for achieving sustainable development around the world.

Yet, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, fuelled by technological advances, is moving faster and faster with the potential for new growth, benefits and new opportunities but as well the impact on the world’s poorest could be disastrous.

In essence, to combat the future distress on the bottom of the pyramid, we will need more social entrepreneurs displaying the socially supportive culture in order to achieve the scale and sustained impact we need to see in an increasingly complex world.

In conclusion, the power of socially supportive culture displayed by social entrepreneurs cannot be dismissed. There is a real opportunity for all of us to generate value for those in society who cannot provide for themselves. Are you ready to be socially supportive?

Nirmala Maharaj is a doctoral candidate at the UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business. Her research is in social entrepreneurship. Mobile: 689-6539/E-mail: [email protected]

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