What is Social Entrepreneurship?

At the core of the social entrepreneurship movement are innovators finding new ways to fill gaps in issues as diverse as education, health care, and housing. The emerging field of social entrepreneurship is being driven in part by foundations, investment firms, and individuals in a variety of countries that are investing in social projects/activities/ to solve complex social issues.

Social entrepreneurship is one of the most vibrant and dynamic movements within the social sector and will be at the center of debate and experimentation for the foreseeable future. At its best, the movement has the potential to be one of the most positive disruptions in the social and business sectors throughout the 21st century.

Who is a “Social Entrepreneur”

William Drayton is thought to have coined the term “social entrepreneur” several decades ago. He recognised that “social entrepreneurs have the same core temperament as their industry-creating business entrepreneur peers but instead use their talents to solve social problems on a society-wide scale. Instead of maximising profit and the return to shareholders, this species of entrepreneur seek to maximise impact and return to stakeholders in society. Social entrepreneurs are referred to as “change makers” who share one common feature which is building platforms that unleash human potential.

As change makers, these relentless innovators infect society with a sense of hope and optimism that a better world is possible.”

Social Entrepreneurship in the ECD Sector

There is compelling evidence to support the benefits to be gained by investing in Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes. Investments in quality ECD programmes result in numerous long term benefits, the greatest of which are government savings. In addition to the substantial rates of return, investments in ECD programmes have also brought attendant social and economic gains.

One method which can be used to promote investments in ECD is through social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs are seeing the need to solve social problems by devising new thinking and approaches. With nearly one-third of 0-4 year olds living in poverty throughout the region and many of the ECD operations being inadequately resourced, social entrepreneurs are to be encouraged to create alternative financial services and models to address such a worrying situation.

In keeping with the mission of the FDCC and in promoting the concept of “social entrepreneurship” among youth and communities, the FDCC is seeking proposals from ‘social entrepreneurs’ and community based groups for innovative, experimental youth and community advocacy projects/activities. These projects/activities should promote quality Early Childhood Development/Family Support services in communities with a focus on supporting disadvantaged young children and their families in bridging the social divide and by creating equal opportunities necessary to develop future generations.Please CLICK HERE to download the “Innovation Grant Application Form”. Please fill out the form and return to the FDCC.

Youth as Social Entrepreneurs

As role models, social entrepreneurs encourage an entrepreneurial culture by their very existence. As people witness their accomplishments and their stories are told and re-told, they help to light a path in another direction. Research concluded that young people are more likely to be engaged with their community as adults if they are involved before age 14. Those youth that have had these opportunities are significantly more likely to remain committed and active community members. Having had the opportunity to learn by doing, youth are better equipped to positively, if not dramatically, impact their communities.

Around the region the youth keep discovering new ways to empower themselves and engage other young people in their communities. Shawn Vargas epitomises such a powerful movement. Shawn participated as a social work intern in the Roving Caregivers Programme and since 2008 has been instrumental in empowering communities in his homeland, Belize. After being exposed to the programme in Dominica, Shawn was encouraged by the work of the young Rovers and supervisors of the RCP and therefore propelled himself to adapt and initiate the RCP in Belize.

“The time spent while on internship in Dominica and seeing the success of the programme; I knew that it could work in Belize” Shawn June, 2008

To date, RCP is being implemented throughout seven (7) villages in the Toledo District and in areas in Southside Belize City. The programme currently impacts over 300 children, 270 families and 18 young Rovers.