The 7 Principles of Social Entrepreneurship (Taddy Blecher)

“If you want to be rich for 1 year, grow grain. If you want to be rich for 10 years, grow trees. If you want to be rich for 100 years, grow people."
- Proverb

These are the 7 Principles of Social Entrepreneurship, as adapted from a short talk that Taddy Blecher gave at a recent GIBS Social Entrepreneurship summit.

Social Entrepreneurship is a tricky space. It's meant to fill the murky middle between pure capitalism and pure charity. But there are many debates ranging as to how to define it and the acceptable boundaries exist. Where can "social" meet "entrepreneur"? What profits can be taken out when balanced with social impact achieved?

It's a fascinating space. Hope you enjoy these principles. Taddy is spot on.

The 7 Principles of Social Entrepreneurship

  • Be field independent. Operate within the field, but BE outside of it. Don’t get affected by everyday movements around you. Control the signal to noise ratio - noise will cause you to make irrational decisions.
  • Go for something great. This is hard, so if you're going to do it, go big. Get educated. Always be prepared to learn. Have big dreams. Remember that the worst thing that could happen is to end up mediocre. Rather fail than be middle of the road.
  • Sharpen the sword. Keep learning new skills. Take care of yourself. Strive for balance. If you burn yourself out, you’ll never be able to do “this social entrepreneurship thing” for 50 years - which is what it realistically takes to change the WORLD.
  • Think long term. Great change doesn’t happen over the short term. Great social entrepreneurs are extremely resilient and extra-ordinarily patient.
  • Everything starts from silence. Take time to be silent - our greatest ideas and thoughts come in silence. If you’re always talking - you’ll never hear. Silence gives your head the space to let those little intangible thoughts and seeds of ideas come to life.
  • Act. Millions of people have billions of ideas every day. Most don’t act. Don’t be scared to fail. Choose the great ideas and do something about them.
  • There is something bigger than all of us. Understand that sometimes, a little piece of the required magic is out of our hands. We can work hard, act on the big ideas, grow our people and do our numbers as much as we like… But what you need to wait for, is the magic. It’s what turns small ideas into world changing businesses. Some call it luck, others call it timing, even others, God… You have to surrender to it, because you won’t always have it, but when you do, you need to make it count.


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