At a time when our world is facing unprecedented challenges, from climate change to political polarization to a global pandemic, entrepreneurs and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders cannot afford to operate in silos. Entrepreneurs possess resourcefulness, creativity, and initiative; heads of nonprofit organizations are equipped with depth of knowledge, purpose, and the patient determination that comes with that purpose. Together, these partners can turbocharge impact if they properly calibrate their respective contributions to create new social enterprises.
A social enterprise can be a business with a social mission or a civic effort with an entrepreneurial culture and instincts. When a social enterprise is structured as a business, it can channel market forces to advance the social good while building a self-sustaining enterprise. When a social enterprise is structured as a nonprofit organization, its funding engine relies on donations instead of a commercial stream of income; but it moves more swiftly, acts more resourcefully, and may have a more innovative change model than does a traditional NGO.
The healthy tension between business entrepreneurs and NGO leaders who partner to create new organizations is important to navigate with balance…
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