We honour the entrepreneur. The awards, magazine spreads, interviews and panels that recognize success and lessons learned, focus on the entrepreneur. The founder is the star; the person who has taken risks to create a new business. In the world of social entrepreneurship however, risk doesn’t look the same.
The community and clients of social entrepreneurs take on a unique risk. To improve their lives, they put their trust, efforts and time into the social entrepreneur’s venture. Too often I’ve heard the sentiment that if an idea brought to a community doesn’t work, there is no harm, no foul. However, there is harm. There is an opportunity cost for the community. Had the community put their efforts into a different venture that could better achieve the outcomes, the community would be better off. Where are the awards and celebrations that honour the communities who place their trust and time in the social entrepreneurs?
What struck me at last year’s Skoll World Forum were the social entrepreneurs who spoke about their community with reverence. It was clear that social entrepreneurs understood that they were only able to do their work because their community is willing to be partners in charting new territory. It was the communities that offered the local nuances that brought success to the social entrepreneur’s work.
As a social entrepreneur, I have experienced this first hand. Our work at building I-Think has only been possible because of the ingenuity of and feedback from our community of educators and leaders. It has been our educators that have innovated on our work and demonstrated its application across grades, subjects and perceived student abilities. I hope we are building an education movement that is remarkable. If that recognition comes, it should in celebration of the educator leaders in the I-Think community. Currently, there is no way to make this happen. It is time that we honour the communities who make social entrepreneurship successful.