Running a sustainable social enterprise is no easy undertaking. To survive in the long run, social enterprises have to generate significant social impact and meet financial constraints that ensure sustainability. What can upcoming social entrepreneurs do to increase their chances of success?
Roger Martin and Sally Osberg from the Skoll Foundation address this question in the May edition of the Harvard Business Review. Looking at a broad range of successful social enterprises, they identified specific commonalities that underline them all. According to them, successful enterprises focus on “changing two features of an existing system—the economic actors involved and the enabling technology applied.”
As they walk readers through the different ways in which various social enterprises do this, the authors point to Proximity as an example of an integrated approach that takes on everything from product design to policy work in order to improve the lives of rural families nationwide. They authors write, “Debbie Aung Din Taylor and Jim Taylor, of Proximity Designs, understood that transforming Myanmar’s smallholder agricultural sector required them to fire on multiple cylinders: They had to reduce costs traditionally associated with a start-up, pare down the operating costs of product design and development, cultivate customers, shift government’s role, and continually enhance their technology solutions.”
To learn more about how Proximity approached these challenges and how other outstanding enterprises are tackling everything from child labor to landmines, read the full article here.