On social entrepreneurship…

A few months ago, I had a conversation with someone at a university, who runs an entrepreneurship center. During our conversation, I brought up social entrepreneurship, stewardship etc. ideas that are becoming mainstream.

He argued that there is no such distinctions are artificial. All entrepreneurship is about creating value and social change. So, by this logic, all forms of entrepreneurship should be seen as ‘social entrepreneurship.’

While I am still mulling this, months later, I am beginning to see how this might be wrong.

Entrepreneurs of course want to create value. And this value may not always be socially beneficial. Those who turn perishable commodities and other depleting resources – think fossil fuels etc. into profit are obviously only interested in profits and shareholder value.

What about tech geeks who claim to hold the moral high ground, as Silicon Valley folks are wont to. Even there, if the investments are from people who are not very ethical or are hurting freedoms, human rights or the environment; then how ‘socially responsible’ are they? Think of the recent debate about the Saudi investments in Silicon Valley.

While this debate rages on, I am still not too sure of the original argument that was made.

What do you think?

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