Can you teach social entrepreneurship? What people mean is: can you give future entrepreneurs their business ideas? Can you teach light bulbs? Of course not. What we can teach are tangible skills – how to analyse the environment around you for opportunities.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is finally being seen as a direct driver of revenue growth and profitability. This represents a huge shift from the old days when companies just made a donation to a local charity and that was that. The good news for those of us that work in corporate responsibility is that the issues related to better governance are steadily rising up the corporate agenda.
If we are going to tackle the enormous social problems that we face we need more people running social businesses. And, to achieve that scale, we will need a variety of business models – many of which will require investment. Where will that investment come from? From entrepreneurs themselves – and from investors – both of whom, in many cases, will want some kind of financial return related to the risk that they are taking.