The Rise of Social Entrepreneurship in Nigeria: Making a Difference and Profit

by Adeyemi Ezra
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Social entrepreneurship.

Due to Nigeria’s fast-growing population, some established systems have been declining in functions. Only a few people who are involved in social entrepreneurship care less about making a profit. They focus on impacting social change, while the rest focus more on maximizing profit for themselves. 

Most individuals shy away from becoming social entrepreneurs because they believe it’s the role of non-governmental agencies (NGOs). Their aim before dabbling into entrepreneurship is to have a profitable business, while it is not so. 

A different route to entrepreneurship is the social approach, known as “social entrepreneurship,” which keeps emerging as time unfolds and innovations broaden.

This article aims to clear your doubts about this field and show you how to become a social entrepreneur whose sole objective is to impact society positively and maximize profit. Today, we’ll dive into what social entrepreneurship entails, while navigating the buzzwords – a “difference” and a “profit.”

What Should You Know about Social Entrepreneurship? 

Social entrepreneurship has often been misconstrued to be a model adopted by non-profit organizations, however, it is very much applicable to businesses. As much as the motive behind starting up your social enterprise is to make a profit, your business can be very profitable when it facilitates social change and fosters social growth. 

Below are a few things to know about social entrepreneurship in Nigeria:

  • Social entrepreneurship is a business model that functions around the social and environmental objective of making a positive impact. It is a growing trend that entails using business as a force for societal change. It goes outside the traditional model that is largely concerned about generating profit but driving societal and environmental impact. The rise of social entrepreneurship has established social enterprises where entrepreneurs tackle social problems. They measure their success based on triple bottom line-people, profit and environment. 
  • The goal of social entrepreneurship is not to serve a few people, considerably customers alone but a large number of people which comprises the society, the inhabitants of a particular environment where the social enterprise resides.
  • Social entrepreneurship also functions significantly by doing the unusual, yet the expected. It involves thinking outside the box while seeking ways to proffer solutions to societal problems.
  • One amazing fact is that social entrepreneurship is a profit-making venture. As much as the goal is to impact social change, you can also maximize profit. 

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Who is a Social Entrepreneur?

In simple terms, a social entrepreneur is a problem solver, an individual whose objective of starting a business extends more than just making a profit but driving social change. Such individuals have great potential to solve community-based problems. 

Nigeria’s population is driven by young people who recognize their potential to tackle social problems, yet we have only a few people who have emerged as social entrepreneurs. Considering how businesses play significant roles in shaping the economy, it is obvious that they have the lead in combating social and environmental problems and not just maximizing business profits all to themselves. 

As an individual who intends to start up a social enterprise or a newbie who seeks social change, you could adopt this business model.

Getting Started as a Social Entrepreneur

Being a social entrepreneur requires you to have certain qualities, one of which is the “drive for social change – being persistent in the desire to make an impact.” Other qualities are also important, the driving force is the motive behind starting up.

Let’s take a look at some steps involved in starting up as a social entrepreneur:

  1. Come up with a viable and worthwhile idea

It is quite herculean to come up with a prosperous business idea in the first place and talk more of a business idea that will both be profitable for you and society. However, you can think outside the box to come up with creative business ideas that serve the government and the business. 

For instance, the idea behind the use of the Point of Sales (POS) machine not only benefits the entire populace in terms of faster and easier transactions but also generates profit for the company. However, some side effects are inevitable, but can still be controlled if managed well.

Potential ideas you could come up with include; repairing or repurposing what others consider as “garbage” and using the materials in the production of your products, homemade goods like soap, cream, etc. Also, think of an outlet where you train and hire people in your community and create employment opportunities. 

  1. Implement your idea as soon as it’s feasible

Money can sometimes be a limiting factor, but you can always start even with the little you have. Moreover, there are microfinance organizations that help entrepreneurs in poor or developing countries to fund their businesses. The point is, just start with something and dream big.

  1. Build a socially conscious market

It is obvious that there are competitors out there, but doing something different from the usual in a remarkable and dignifying way would even attract more people and sponsors to your business. People are getting more socially conscious when they make purchasing decisions. 

They want to familiarize themselves with companies or businesses that have something to offer them. As a social entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit while solving social problems, it is your role to find those loopholes that other businesses have ignored and fill the gap.

Making a Difference and Profit as a Social Entrepreneur

As a social entrepreneur, you are not just limited to making a difference, driving social change and tackling social problems, you’re also entitled to making a profit for your business. You need the profit to keep your business financially savvy to keep it on or else it could go extinct. 

Many young entrepreneurs shy away from adopting this business model because they feel they would not make a profit as they would have as a traditional entrepreneur. However, this is not so. You can still make profits while making a difference out there. Here are a few steps to take:

  1. Promote your local community

Every global difference starts small. Find out about your community’s social problems and seek to solve them. It could be to employ youths in your community through your company, or the provision of water resources. While doing this, there are more hands in labour and much can be done within a short period and profit can be maximized efficiently.

  1. Connect with members of your business community

Socially networking and connecting with people within your business sphere and even beyond helps you to build relationships that foster support in funding certain projects and business goals. 

Collaborate with enterprises around the world for a common social cause. This is one very efficient way of raising funds for a social enterprise to keep it on.

  1. Prioritize your goals

Social entrepreneurs must be cautious of prioritizing their goal of improving society by tackling social problems. It should not conflict with making a profit. The idea is, that while you make the difference, more respect and value will be placed on your organization. This would drive more sales or patronage but eradicating social problems must be the ultimate goal.

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With the fast increase in climate change and environmental decline, it is evident that there is a need for urgent solutions to these problems. However, social entrepreneurs are the potential life savers who can rescue these situations by tackling these problems and still make a profit. 

We can also contribute to positive social change as we become aware of these problems and take action to combat them. It’d be a benefit for us all, and in the long run, make the world a better place.

Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.

About Author

Adeyemi Ezra
Adeyemi Ezra
A content writer, copywriter and fictional author. I like to explore writing on lifestyle, entrepreneurship and many more with valuable and highly insightful contents that relates with prospects to educate and motivate.

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