Many will view the world of entrepreneurialism as a means of developing a business to supply the financial requirements of household needs. The prevailing dream of most aspiring entrepreneurs is to work for themselves without the need to answer to a boss.
There is, however, a culture of entrepreneurs who not only seek to become self-sufficient in the business ventures, but they also seek to be agents of societal change.
The Schwab Foundation awards 30 international entrepreneurs with a Social Capitalist Award for not only succeeding in their profession, but also providing a sense of positive societal change.
The 2006 American Social Entrepreneur of the year winner was Kyle Zimmer and a company called First Book. This company has a desire to see low income children have every opportunity to read and own books of their own.
61% of low-income families have no age-appropriate books in the home.
80 percent of preschool and after-school programs that serve this group have no books at all for these children.
There are 181,500 such programs in US cities with populations exceeding 50,000 alone.
The children’s book market is a $27 billion industry with over 460 million books sold annually.
In 2002, just 34.5 % of US households purchased at least one children’s book.
The entrepreneurs at First Book have worked to provide new children’s books for less than $2.00 per copy to programs dealing with low-income children.
Because First Book is able to sell in mass quantities to grateful literacy programs they have a significant budget that allows them to provide books to severely disadvantaged children at no cost.
Reports indicate First Book has given away more than 43 million books since it’s inception in 1992.
First Book has shown it is possible to develop a business that allows you to do what you love and be paid to do so. They have also shown that they can take the passion of an entrepreneur and combine it with a desire to affect future generations in a positive way.
Finding the right business is discovering an underserved market and developing a solution to needs that haven’t been addressed elsewhere.
There are thousands of global social entrepreneurs who are giving back to their local, national and global communities.
In an era of governmental cutbacks and reduced budgets many of these social entrepreneurs are finding great satisfaction in contributing in a meaningful way to the things they are most interested in. The prospects are limitless and often provide a greater sense of satisfaction to those who include ‘others’ as part of their business plan.