Impact Entrepreneurship: Making Money and Improving Lives

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Impact entrepreneurs are inspired to direct their entrepreneurial energy and skill to making a difference, help a group in a society, right a wrong or turn around an injustice. -Jeff Bussgang

The New School in Impact Entrepreneurship provides this definition:

Impact entrepreneurship as an innovative and financially sustainable approach to addressing an unmet social, economic, or environmental need such as better health care, sanitation, education and financial security. The innovation may take a form of a new product, service, technological application, or program. The enterprise, or venture, may be structured as a for-profit company, nonprofit, or cooperative enterprise.

We’re aware of varying degrees of unmet needs. Look at it this way; we’ve got many of our people as rural dwellers who face unmet health care needs, poor-to-no access to financial assistance, uninviting sanitation (forests and valleys are most unhealthy places we have around us) and many more.

Businesses are concentrated in the cities or townships. Which is why, it is very important that impact becomes a central focus in many entrepreneurial endeavours. Making money and improving lives should be seen as a single pursuit.

Jon Shepard in How impact entrepreneurship can help drive sustainable and inclusive growth states that,

Impact entrepreneurs are making it their business to tackle the causes and symptoms of deepening inequality. Whether by accelerating creation of quality jobs, expanding affordable access to vital goods and services or advancing the economic participation of underrepresented groups, scaling impact entrepreneurship creates ripples that can change millions of lives.

Technological disruptions are a common feature of our modern-day times. Never has doing business been much easier than today. It is only normal to wonder at what would happen if more entrepreneurs sought to make an impact. To both create wealth and change lives. Thus, healing the world. Striving for equitable societies. This in itself, calls for collaboration between businesses.

Jeff Bussgang in Impact Entrepreneurship outlines some examples and trends such as:

  • Mission-driven, Double Bottom Line: these companies measure their success on both financial performance and social impact. They are typically mission-driven companies with founders who are passionate about the mission for its own sake rather than financially driven where the company’s focus is a means to an end.
  • Impact investing:  a new class of investors is emerging at the intersection of financially-driven investments and social initiatives called impact investing.
  • Public entrepreneurship: another powerful trend is directing entrepreneurial skills and efforts to innovate in the public sector. The notion is that entrepreneurs can work with civic leaders to make a difference in the world through technology, social change and/or political transparency.
  • Social entrepreneurship: these are nonprofits that draw on business techniques to address social issues, but explicitly in a not-for-profit structure.

We need to see more enterprises tailoring their efforts to impact creating. What we really need is to see development. Business for the sake of financial gain hasn’t helped much. So we need to intensify impact entrepreneurship in Africa, otherwise there’s no hope for a great majority of us to break free from the chronic circles of poverty.

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