Social entrepreneurs in today’s world need to be research-savvy. We live an information age where an endless amount of material from around the world is at our fingertips at all times. It requires a kind of skill to sift through useless material to curate the best resources for innovative work. For Christian social entrepreneurship, one of my go-to websites is Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership website. There I find resources that inform, equip and inspire the imagination: Christian social entrepreneurs foster change in their communities while creating sustainable organizations. Faith & Leadership offers articles on social entrepreneurship to help Christian leaders apply it to their mission.
Christian social entrepreneurs often use business models to imagine how they bear witness to the reign of God in their work. Christians believe that we are called to pursue innovative solutions to social problems. But many Christians wonder how they can participate in social innovation even if they have full-time jobs that do other things, like nursing or teaching or sales. The reality is, however, that most non-profits (social innovations) begin as a “side hustle” because there is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. An 8-year old child dies of Leukemia, and in her name, a non-profit is started to raise money for Leukemia research while providing teddy bears for every kid in Leukemia treatment. This is often how social entrepreneurship begins. There is a problem that when noticed becomes a burden that compels one to respond by addressing the problem. Individuals can engage in this work, families, faith communities, even for-profit companies.
Here are some questions for reflection that may be a helpful starting point for stabling practices to change society:
Entrepreneurs focus on outcomes.
- What impact do you envision making in your community? How will the proposed activities lead to change?
- Who are your partners? Entrepreneurs nurture a web of relationships with funders, volunteers, agencies and service recipients. How are you cultivating these relationships?
- What is the best scale for your great ideas?
- What is the most productive size for an experiment?
- How can you expand an experiment?
- What makes your enterprise Christian? How are Christian convictions expressed?