Social Entrepreneurs Vs. Entrepreneurs: What’s the Difference?
I recently attended the Ideation Conference in Chicago, which was focused on creative social good. It was a 3 day event created by Charles Lee, the founder of Ideation Consultancy. It was informative & entertaining. It is only held once a year, but in my opinion, a must attend event for everyone involved in social entrepreneurship. I attended the event because I was interested in Social Entrepreneurship, mainly because I knew nothing about it. I wasn't interested in becoming a social entrepreneur, but rather intrigued to uncover what the difference is between social entrepreneurs and tech entrepreneurs. Is there a difference? I had my share of questions.
- Are social entrepreneurs just entrepreneurs who are focused on social causes?
- Do social entrepreneurs even care about making revenue and turning a profit?
- Is their main goal to do social good first and make money second, or is their main goal to make money by using a social cause?
- Do they truly care about their causes, or are they using the social aspect of their business models to relate to consumers, thus bringing in more revenue?
- Are Social entrepreneurs better people than "normal" tech entrepreneurs?
- In terms of business structure, how similar are social good companies and non-profits?
- Tech entrepreneurs do not go to social entrepreneurship events. I barely knew anyone. I'm used to seeing a lot of familiar faces at entrepreneurship events in Chicago, but at this event, it seemed like everyone was new.
- Business models are extremely different from typical start-ups. TOMS Shoes is a prime example. For every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS gives a pair to charity. That model is not prevalent at many start-ups.
- Gender & Age. There were many more women at the conference than men, and ages of the attendees varied from young to old.
- Social entrepreneurs seemed to know exactly what the problems were, but struggled with how to create a solution to fix them. TOMS Shoes (they were in attendance) seem to have the winning model of "buy one, give one" to charity. But it did seem that many of these social entrepreneurs defaulted to that model and struggled with other social business models.
- Tech entrepreneurs, on the other hand, struggle with what the real problems are and build solutions that look for a problem to solve. Obviously not all entrepreneurs have this problem, but they acted much different than social entrepreneurs.