Local Businesspeople to Discuss Social Entrepreneurship on Tuesday

Social entrepreneurship is an idea that has been getting a lot of press recently. When people talk about social entrepreneurship, they’re typically referring to enterprises that attempt to affect change by applying the principles of business and entrepreneurship to social problems. In the world of the social entrepreneur, measures of change and impact are just as important as profits.

Today, social entrepreneurship has truly gone mainstream. Worldwide, organizations and companies like KIVA, Toms, the Skoll Foundation, and countless others have demonstrated that meaningful social change is possible through the implementation of entrepreneurial principles.

While the term “social entrepreneurship” is fairly common, its exact parameters can prove somewhat elusive. That’s because social entrepreneurship has become an umbrella term for a number of related concepts.

Social ventures, social capitalists, social purpose businesses, and social enterprises are all slight variations on the same theme; and though they are regularly included when discussing the idea of social entrepreneurship, they each have a slightly different meaning. As such, the need to define social entrepreneurship was seen by some to be enough of an issue that the Stanford Social Innovation Review published an article highlighting the benefits of an agreed upon definition.

“Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition” argues in favor of a rather narrow and focused interpretation of the term. Certainly clarification is good at some level, but for those simply looking at larger trends, it’s probably sufficient to understand that the implementation of entrepreneurial approaches in service of the social good has become a hot topic.

This trend toward societal change through entrepreneurship has played out locally, too. In Central Ohio, a number of organizations and businesses are putting profits on par with change. These enterprises are developing innovative ways to improve lives through sustainable business models.

Freshbox Catering works in partnership with Faith Mission to provide workforce training while offering fresh, affordable lunches for businesses, organizations, and conferences. Elizabeth Lessner of Betty’s Family of Restaurants is passionate about recycling and sustainability. She uses her locations as a way to lead the restaurant community by example and support Eartha Limited in its efforts to encourage recycling. CauseImpact offers coaching, consultation, and assessment to help businesses and organizations achieve their social goals.

On Feb. 22, Lessner, Joe DeLoss of Freshbox Catering, Dave Parker of CauseImpact, and Sean McGee of CauseImpact will share their experiences and insights on social entrepreneurship in a public program at Old Worthington Library.

Good Business: An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship will provide an introduction to this timely topic, as well as a chance to hear from local experts who are at the forefront of the movement. Both non-profits looking for new ideas and entrepreneurs with a passion for change can benefit from this program.

Good Business: An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship is slated to begin at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 at Old Worthington Library, located at 820 High St. in Worthington. The event is free and open to the public.