Is social enterprise sustainable?
Monday, May 13, 2013
When Filipe Santos began teaching Social Enterprise at INSEAD in 2004 very few of his students had any interest in developing businesses which had a social impact. Now more than 30 percent of his students want to make a social difference. “The time is ripe for a new social impact model,” says Santos. “We see a lot of problems in developed and developing countries that are not being addressed by markets. It’s not just poverty, it’s about things breaking down around long-term unemployment, exclusion from society, healthcare. Problems that society and governments are not able to invest in. For me, social enterprise is the process of developing sustainable solutions for some of these neglected areas.”
The early social entrepreneurs were often people who had been educated in Europe or the U.S., gained experience in mainstream companies in the developed world, and then brought their expertise back to their home countries in the developing world. Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, was one of the pioneers when he introduced the notion of microfinance to Bangladesh in the 1970s with the foundation of the Grameen bank.