A lot of people think of starting a business to improve their life situation. Others want to be their own bosses. At the same time, some see a market opportunity that they don’t want to miss. But there is also another type of business seeking to create a positive change in society and be profitable at the same time.
This type of business has become quite popular in recent years as discussions like sustainability and social inclusion has become topics for discussion. This is what we call “social entrepreneurship”, and we want to investigate it from the scope of youth.
Should the youth become social entrepreneurs? Let’s find out.
What is Social Entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurship is a for-profit business model with sensitivity to social or environmental issues. In contrast with other types of for-profit businesses, social entrepreneurship’s goal is not to increase profits.
The primary role of a social enterprise is first to solve problems and then to be profitable. In essence, it makes profitability the means rather than the end goal of a business.
However, there is also an ultimate goal that social entrepreneurship strives to achieve. That is to bring the necessary change to the system that creates these adversities. But for systemic change to happen, social businesses must not lose sight of the problem they are trying to solve.
Why social entrepreneurship for youth?
Some decades ago, nobody would believe that you could make a living from a business and at the same time have a positive impact. But, finally, we have come to a point where we recognize the significance of social enterprises. Meanwhile, universities worldwide have their own social entrepreneurship study programs creating a new generation of social entrepreneurs.
But is it really necessary for youth to study social entrepreneurship to become social entrepreneurs? This is the type of question that does not have a yes or no answer.
Yes, knowing the fundamentals of running a business helps, but social entrepreneurship is more than that. A social entrepreneur needs to have a broader understanding of the world and be passionate about change.
Numerous studies show that young people today are highly motivated to bring positive social change. Coupled with the fact that young people are bombarded from a very young age with information on social and environmental issues, they are more likely to develop a passion for providing solutions to many of those challenges that concern their future.
How they benefit
Youth social entrepreneurship is an ideal opportunity for improving employment pathways for youth and positively impacting the world. As sustainability is becoming the number one priority, the world needs fresh ideas to solve global challenges in the years ahead. As young people are desperately looking for employment opportunities or growing their skills, social businesses are effective grounds for both.
Youth social entrepreneurship can have profound benefits not only for young people but their communities too. Instead of patiently waiting to find the job of their dreams, young people can start their own social business or start working for an existing one.
Working in a social business, young people can gain work and entrepreneurial experience while being productive and doing good for society, ultimately leading to their empowerment and becoming economically and socially active.
In terms of skills and competencies, youth social entrepreneurship helps them build the necessary skills for the twenty-first century. As far competencies are concerned, these fall into four categories called the “four C’s”: critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity.
Due to their hands-on experience, they will learn everything related to running a business. Most importantly, they will increase their digital skills. Digital technologies have enormous potential for young people and youth social entrepreneurship. Lastly, they allow youth social entrepreneurs to reach out to more people to inform them about their social causes and can help them expand their network.
Social entrepreneurship is all about creating something positive for the society that can make an impact. If the social entrepreneurship movement grows bigger, it can bring the systemic change that the world desperately needs to deal with global challenges.
Especially, guiding youth towards social entrepreneurship is a must. They are the perfect candidates to become social entrepreneurs and achieve many goals at the same time. Not only it reduces youth unemployment, but it equips them with skills and prepares them for the future.
Overall, youth social entrepreneurship can create a better world for everyone as it caters to the most urgent needs with innovative solutions.
Promoting youth social work with SEYW project
SEYW is an Erasmus+ European project offering a bridge between the two worlds of social entrepreneurship and youth work. Understanding the potential of youth social entrepreneurship in Europe seeks to attract more people in creating their social businesses.
We need to do it with constant innovation and an entrepreneurial attitude to tackle European, and world challenges effectively. By cultivating these two qualities in youth, the SEYW project wants to support them to become changemakers themselves or inspire others.