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Just what is Social Entrepreneurship?

Businesses like TOMS shoes and the local company 5 Pound Apparel are becoming more common and are often described as examples of social entrepreneurship. Many people may be wondering exactly what "social entrepreneurship" is. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship defines a social entrepreneur as someone who pursues “poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or companies.” In other words, social entrepreneurs operate businesses that are dedicated to bringing about some kind of social change.

The Library has a number of books on social entrepreneurship if you would like to find out more about this growing trend.

 Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs by Muhammad Yunus with Karl Weber.
Muhammad Yunus -- the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize -- has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls "social business." By harnessing the energy of profit-making to the objective of fulfilling human needs, social business creates self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth even as they produce goods and services that make the world a better place.

 Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism by Muhammad Yunus with Karl Weber.
This book tells the stories of some of the earliest examples of social businesses, including Muhammad Yunus's Grameen Bank. It reveals the next phase in a hopeful economic and social revolution that is already underway -- and in the worldwide effort to eliminate poverty by unleashing the productive energy of every human being.

 The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith.
This book shows readers how to tap social media and consumer psychological insights to make a difference. Named for the only insect that is able to move in any direction when its four wings are working in concert, this book reveals the four "wings" of the Dragonfly Effect -- and how they work together to produce colossal results. It features original case studies of global organizations like the Gap, Starbucks, Kiva, Nike, eBay, Facebook, showing how they achieve social good and customer loyalty.

 A Kind of Genius: Herb Sturz and Society's Toughest Problems by Sam Roberts.
Herb Sturz began his long career in social entrepreneurship by reforming the bail system and founding the Vera Institute of Justice. He served as New York City's Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice under Ed Koch and then as Chairman of the City Planning Commision. He moved on to establish affordable inner-city housing and programs for at-risk individuals. Roberts pays tribute to Sturz's inspirational legacy of accomplishment.

 The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World by Peter Senge.
Today's most innovative leaders are recognizing that, for the sake of our companies and our world, we must implement revolutionary -- not just incremental -- changes in the way we live and work. Brimming with inspiring stories from individuals and organizations tackling social and environmental problems around the globe, “The Necessary Revolution” reveals how ordinary people at every level are transforming their businesses and communities. 

 Saving the Corporate Soul -- and (Who Knows?) Maybe Your Own: Eight Principles for Creating and Preserving Integrity and Profitability Without Selling Out by David Batstone.
David Batstone shows that a corporation has the potential to act with soul when it aligns its missions with the values of its workers and puts its resources at the service of the people it employs and the public it serves. He offers companies and their employees eight sound principles for "doing the right thing" and -- citing examples from firms like Timberland, General Motors, Clif Bar, and BP -- offers evidence that principled companies will excel financially over the long haul.

 Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing our World by David Gershon.
Drawing on his three decades in the trenches of large-scale societal transformation, David Gershon -- founder and president of Empowerment Institute, and described by the United Nations as a "graceful revolutionary" -- offers an original and comprehensive roadmap to bring about fundamental change in our world.


 The Social Entrepreneur's Handbook: How to Start, Build and Run a Business that Improves the World by Rupert Scofield.
A hands-on guide for organizations to succeed in the exploding new field of social entrepreneurship from one of its earliest leaders, the president and CEO of microfinance giant FINCA.


 Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know by David Bornstein and Susan Davis.
In a Q & A format that allows readers to go directly to the information they need, the authors map out social entrepreneurship in its broadest terms as well as in its particulars. Bornstein and Davis explain what social entrepreneurs are, how their organizations function and what challenges they face. The book will give readers an understanding of what differentiates social entrepreneurship from standard business ventures and how it differs from traditional grant-based non-profit work.

 Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie.
Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world - -all at the same time. Should you focus on earning a living, pursuing your passions, or devoting yourself to the causes that inspire you? The surprising truth is that you don't have to choose -- and that you'll find more success if you don't. That's the breakthrough message of TOMS' One for One movement. You don't have to be rich to give back, and you don't have to retire to spend every day doing what you love. You can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once -- right now .

 Supercorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth and Social Good by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
In this book, the author discusses the concept of "vanguard companies" whose mission combines a social conscience along with the ability to deliver on customers' needs better than their competitors, citing IBM's expertise in India following the 2006 tsunami and earthquake as an example.


Upcoming book discussions

Missouri State University has chosen "Start Something that Matters" by Blake Mycoskie as the 2013 Common Reader. More than 2,600 new Missouri State Univesity students are reading the book this fall. The Springfield-Greene County Library District is participating inthe Common Reader program by hosting several book discussions to allow the whole community to get involved. 

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