“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionised the fishing industry.” A quote by Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka

If you are wondering what social enterprises do, the above quote says it all. Social enterprises are organisations that apply commercial strategies to maximise improvements to the social and environmental well being, rather than maximising profits for their shareholders.

At this year’s Social Collab, the two-part conference featured the theme of “Leveraging on Corporate and Venture Philanthropy”. With guest speakers from various businesses and venture philanthropy organisations, we gained insights into to the recent initiatives taken by them to support the growth of the social enterprise culture here and within the region. Currently in its 4th year, Social Collab aims to inspire new perspectives and ideas to boost the social enterprise eco-system in Singapore.

Aside from gaining an exclusive sneak peak at business models from established organisations, what I learnt is that it isn’t easy operating a social business. Managing a social business requires 3 key components:

1. A committed, motivated and forward-looking leader

2. Clear business goals and plans

3. Passion & Empathy

 A committed and motivated leader will bring the team to greater heights and with a forward-looking mind-set, they can be prepared for any setbacks. A leader has to prepare the team for future challenges so that they can prepare to tackle them. Without planning, a business will fail. That is why a company has to be clear in what impact they want to make with their business. Lastly, it takes a lot of passion to keep a social business going. A social business is not just about profits but it is also about helping others with your passion. Before you can help others, you must be able to empathise with your beneficiaries.

It was a very insightful session hearing from social entrepreneurs of various fields sharing the motivations and directions behind their operations while creating a sustainable social impact through their business.

Many thanks to SE Association for inviting us to be at the conference and we would be pleased to receive any future invites to come.