Entrepreneurship for Social Change Essay

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Entrepreneurship for social change: Is the U.S. doing enough to encourage and support sustainable social innovation?

Throughout U.S. history the nonprofit and government sectors have addressed needs that are not being met by the marketplace through the provision of a variety of social goods and services ranging from health and human services to environmental conservation. In response to increased demand for these services, the number of nonprofits has grown by 59% over the past 20 years (Powell and Steinberg, 2006; NCCS, 2010). There are now over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S. which account for 5 percent of GDP, 8.1 percent of the economy’s wages, and 9.7 percent of jobs (Wing, 2008). Over the same
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With the government at all levels cutting discretionary spending and donations from the private sector declining, this charity model is no longer viable for all organizations. In fact, the culture of dependency leaves organizations susceptible to external sources of volatility which can impact their ability to accomplish their social mission.
The decrease in funding availability, coupled with the fact that performance assessment has not been a central focus in social sector operations, leaves funders asking for increased accountability and organizations seeking ways to become more self sufficient.
Just as for profit businesses are transforming to meet the current needs of the global economy in new ways, there is a rising trend towards innovation in the social sector. Entrepreneurs are combining their passion for social causes with creativity and sound business practice to develop and manage ventures to make positive social change, resulting in a blurring of sector lines. These social enterprises (SE) use earned income strategies to address social needs through their products and services and reinvest profits in the fulfillment of that mission or the community (Boschee, 2010). Although no formal federal classification currently exists in the U.S., estimates of the number of SEs pursuing a double or triple bottom line are as high as
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