“I believe that the greatest business opportunities are the greatest social challenges,” said Shiza Shahid, cofounder of The Malala Fund at the Under 30 summit.
This week, just under half of the population of the United States has been asking,”What can I do post-election?” But this desire to help impact social changes extends far beyond November.
Social entrepreneurship is worldwide trend that proves that founders can go beyond business models and bootstrapping to solve social issues affecting the globe. Currently, the rate of start-up social entrepreneurship averages about 3.2% worldwide, according to the largest recent comparative study conducted on the subject. That might not seem like much (compared to the 7.6% of the world leading start-up commercial ventures), but that is about 237 million people working to make the world a better place through their ideas and businesses.
Shahid and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who founded The Malala Fund (along with Yousafzai’s father, Ziauddin) are two of those people. Their work with the Fund, which helps girls around the world amplify their voices, illustrates what it takes to use your business to affect social change.
Here are four keys to helping your social entrepreneurship venture impact the world.
- Understand the scope of the problem. “If we don’t understand the (issues of the) public how can we understand the magnitude?” asked Shadid, at the Under 30 summit. For example, The Malala Fund helps to highlight the devastating social and economic impact that the lack of education for girls causes around the world, with campaigns like #YesAllGirls. While access to education for children around the world is improving, the more educated a person is the easier it can be for them to get a job. The economic benefits from solving this social problem are astronomical.
- Be able to explain what needs to be done to find a solution. “I remember many women relying on their brothers and fathers for living,” said Yousafzi, at a recent UAE conference celebrating women and girls. “If they got divorced or their husbands passed away…that is why I know that quality education for girls is not just learning books, passing exams and getting jobs. It is empowerment, freedom and nourishment. It is independence, giving them ability to be self-sufficient.”
- Advocate for funds and role models to help impact change. “We cannot have impact without capital and creativity,” said Shahid. Outside of The Malala Fund, Yousafzi makes money to fund her social ventures through the sales of her book, I am Malala,as well as speaking engagements. Both of these offer publicity for The Malala Fund as well as profits which reportedly equal over $1 million.
- Inspire change for the future. It is because of her own education that Yousafzi said that she has begun to see more women role models such as women athletes, artists and entrepreneurs. This has inspired to give up her dream of being a doctor for another dream – being the Prime Minister of Pakistan. ”In society to inspire girls that they can reach any goal in their life, we need to show them women who are role models from the past to the current time; to enlighten them to dream without limits and if there isn’t a woman role model in a certain field let us encourage them to be the first,” said Yousafzi.