Entrepreneurs nowadays strive to build companies that will change the world more than ever. It seems we have entered a new era in which entrepreneurs often pursue a path broader than profit. We call them #impact entrepreneurs.
People like to call entrepreneurs “special”. They are happy to take on the risk of (self)employment, gamble their careers, deal with failure; all to achieve something “more”. True entrepreneurs are driven by ambition to change the status quo. They wake up, as well as fall asleep, with the thought of changing the world on their mind. Entrepreneurs who believe in companies and entrepreneurship focused on ethics and transparency, thus eradicating business dinosaurs focused on profit alone. Instead, they have faith in building businesses that make people’s lives better. To put it plainly – they do not believe in sales, they believe in problem-solving.
The late Apple founder Steve Jobs was one of the earliest #impact entrepreneurs, as strange as it sounds. His burning wish was to change the world; for the better. He supported his like-minded pioneers by saying: “While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
The new approach to entrepreneurship has been changing the entire business world of the 21st century, beginning with how people conduct business overall. Today a successful business isn’t defined by profit, but rather by the #impact it made. Consequently, conducting business is becoming more and more responsible, transparent, useful, interesting, and all in all more fun. Things are taking a turn for the better. But please, for your own sake and ours, do not include “making the world a better place” in your company’s mission statement.
#Impact entrepreneurs intentionally seek progress that coincides with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. (Yeah, yeah, we know – another term and a whole new world behind it. Not to worry, we’ll get to them eventually, okay?).
#Impact entrepreneurs may seem equal to social entrepreneurs, but that is not entirely true. Slovenia’s Social Entrepreneurship Act describes the latter as “a non-profit legal entity, subject to acquiring the status of a social enterprise, either a society, institute, foundation, company, cooperative society, European cooperative society or other legal person governed by private law not established for the sole purpose of generating profit, which does not distribute assets or the generated profit or surplus revenue over expenditure.” A non-profit legal person may therefore acquire the status of a social enterprise in Slovenia if:
- it is carrying out both economic and non-economic activities,
- it has a limit on the distribution of generated profit or surplus revenue over expenses or assets among the members or stakeholders defined in its internal acts,
- it is autonomous and organizationally independent in relation to for-profit companies, legal entities under public law or local communities,
- it provides an inclusive form of management based on co-decision and a democratic way of decision-making and
- it fulfils other conditions stipulated by forementioned law and the law governing the legal organization of each type of non-profit legal entity.
Acquiring the status requires a specific application and ensures a note “social enterprise” or the abbreviation “so.p.”. is added to the company name or to the name of the non-profit legal person in the register or public records.
Social entrepreneurship abroad is defined by “an approach of individuals, groups, start-ups or entrepreneurs in which they develop, finance and implement solutions for social, cultural or environmental issues. For-profit entrepreneurs typically measure performance using business metrics such as profit, revenue, and stock price increases. Social entrepreneurs, unlike for-profit ones, are either non-profit or combine profit goals with the creation of a positive “return to society“.”
Similar, but hardly the same 😊. The ActImpAct project aims to support kind-hearted entrepreneurs and help them along the way. It is funded by Google.org and is primarily focused on businesses contributing to realizing United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. As we said, we will get to those later.
Do #impact entrepreneurs seem as rare as hens’ teeth? Do you think we don’t have them in Slovenia? And that all our business owners strive for profit and profit only? That #impact entrepreneurship isn’t really real?
Let’s look at some examples! Once again: who are #impact entrepreneurs?
Eg. London-based Trampoline Café helping London’s refugee community to integrate, train and become independent citizens; or maybe Steve Jobs, a man on a mission to change the world … But we don’t actually have to cross borders to find good #impact entrepreneurship practices.
First stop: Pouhn cekar, a plastic package-free shop in Škofja Loka.
Next up: Cats’n’clothes of Kranj, a pair of young entrepreneurs offering clothes a second chance.
We should also mention Treecelet, bracelets helping forest restoration, and We4Dogs, donating to shelters, food and veterinary services for rescued dogs with every bracelet sold.
Every single one of them works for profit, but not just for profit. Maybe you know one as well?