Women are far more involved in socially responsible firms than in typical businesses in many nations throughout the world. Social enterprises have more female leaders than any other type of business in numerous European countries. What is the reason for this? What happens when they take the lead?
What is social entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurs that build enterprises and organisations that are focused on social change are referred to as social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs’ primary purpose is not to generate a profit, but to invest in, create, and implement new solutions to address social or environmental issues in a certain community. Individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social, cultural, and environmental concerns are defined as social entrepreneurs by Ashoka, an international organisation that has been assisting local social companies since the 1980s. They are tenacious and ambitious, confronting huge issues and proposing fresh ideas for systemic change.”
Social enterprises are a broad category that encompasses a wide range of businesses. From microfinance to bagel shops, housing developments, and software firms… It’s a world as big as entrepreneurship, except the social impact is equally as vital as the financial one.
Women in the role of social entrepreneurs
According to an OECD working paper, the “gender gap” in social entrepreneurship is substantially lower than the “mainstream” entrepreneurship gender gap, implying that social entrepreneurship can be an effective instrument for increasing female entrepreneurship and labour market participation. Furthermore, the study discovered that the size, profitability, and development of social enterprises led by women and men are relatively similar.
“Women-led ventures seem to be more likely to open up new markets – that is, providing a product/service that no one else at the time provided,” one major difference found between male and female-led social enterprises seemed to indicate that women were actually more innovative: “Women-led ventures seem to be more likely to open up new markets – that is, providing a product/service that no one else at the time provided.” This shows that women social entrepreneurs are remarkable ‘lead innovators’ when it comes to social innovation, possibly because of their unique sensitivity to social demands.
Female-led social companies, on the other hand, were more participative in management, indicating “the potential of women social entrepreneurs to empower others (and so enable colleagues to acquire and develop crucial abilities and skills).”
The primary motive for establishing a social enterprise was to respond to community needs and make a difference. “In the nations surveyed, women mentioned personally experiencing and witnessing unmet needs in their communities, as well as looking for new solutions that will have a specific societal impact,” the report continues. They also report a personal calling to social concerns and a desire to use their employment to make the world a better place.” This suggests that women are more concerned with social goals than males, maybe as a result of conventional gender roles that bring women significantly closer to social issues in both their personal and professional lives.
Furthermore, many of the women polled had a personal connection to their social enterprise’s objective and goal: “The majority of women interviewed for the WEstart project mentioned having had a personal or first-hand experience that drove them to start their social enterprise.”
Surprisingly, just a small percentage of women were interested in generating a profit. “At the individual level, profit was not a motivating motivator for 31% of women. The same was true in terms of their household circumstances, with 47% of women claiming that “seeking to support myself or my family as a primary earner” was not a motivating factor. Finally, it indicates that heading a social company is a result of necessity, as the majority of women (68%) do not find unemployment or underemployment motivating.” The enterprise’s social objective remained as vital, particularly for women who were unemployed or in nations experiencing economic hardship.
Women-led social enterprises are being aided.
The issues that female CEOs and founders of social companies encounter are quite similar to those that female entrepreneurs face in general. Women’s entrepreneurship is hampered by a lack of financial opportunities, and many female CEOs have stated that attracting investors can be difficult. Furthermore, rigorous norms and regulations might make it difficult to start and run social businesses.
Supporting initiatives that allow female social entrepreneurs to learn from one another and improve their knowledge and skills in running their firms is also critical. Female social entrepreneurs face a lack of visibility, thus it’s critical to promote networking events and projects that showcase their contributions to communities around the world.
Female social entrepreneurs are trailblazers in the field of social transformation. Women’s leadership and engagement in the social economy can be bolstered by a policy environment
that encourages them to start social businesses. Similarly, informing customers about the advantages of female-led social enterprises can inspire them to seek out their services and goods, which benefits the local economy and community.
Edited by : Swiftnlift Business Magazine