What distinguishes social entrepreneurship from any other? It’s all about where the demand comes from. For example, if we were to look at tech entrepreneurs, they seek consumers who will pay for their products/services. For them, sufficient demand means enough paying consumers who want their product to recoup the costs of making it.
Social entrepreneurs’ goals and objectives differ from others because they have different demands. The most important objective for social entrepreneurs is to help generate income for organizations that directly help marginalized groups through education, rehabilitation, and providing food or other necessary items, among many other things. Social entrepreneurship aims to break down the barriers underprivileged groups face for their socio-economic advancement and the betterment of the community as a whole. Like nonprofits, social entrepreneurship looks outward and asks, “What does our society need?” and “How can we solve this problem?” They both recruit the community to aid their efforts. This type of entrepreneurship draws on the hungry business-savvy of entrepreneurship, the altruism of nonprofits, and the industriousness of capitalism. Social entrepreneurship is equal parts innovation, economy, and mission. It takes the best of America’s businesses and combines them into something as equally productive as it is compassionate. Through my experiences, I realized that social entrepreneurship was something I was extremely passionate about.
I was the first of my family to attend college, and I attended Hastings College in Nebraska on a full scholarship as their star quarterback. I played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League after graduating. After several months, I realized I was more committed to social change than the scoreboard. I had the great opportunity to help open an Obama campaign office south of the Fort Carson military base. Soon after, I ran for city council.
I was disillusioned and not fulfilled with local politics. I tried impacting my community the only way I knew how: social entrepreneurship. In the last five years, I’ve started and managed four socially conscious startups, from a program called One Voice Coalition to the app Arcade Exchange. Now in Denver, I work at the intersection of social entrepreneurship and nonprofits to help people across the state find jobs. I am the President/CEO of the longstanding nonprofit CommunityWorks Inc. During my time at CommunityWorks Inc, I’ve seen how social enterprises can greatly benefit the community. In 2019, we served over 1,000 individuals by providing important resources necessary for social mobility. Resources such as training and education help individuals land careers and become self-sustaining. Witnessing individuals regain their autonomy with assistance from our social enterprise is an extremely rewarding experience.