Social entrepreneurship is on the rise, says Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report

It looks as though social entrepreneurs are on the rise. This is according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)’s special report on Social Entrepreneurship.

Sub-Saharan African has one of the highest social entrepreneurial activities with 9%, which is followed by Southeast Asia with 3.8%. Those are lower than the US and Australia’s 11%.

According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the report was “based on interviews with 167 793 adults in 58 economies in 2015.”

“Social entrepreneurship — which GEM defines broadly as any kind of activity, organisation or initiative that has a particularly social, environmental or community objective — is now a significant share of entrepreneurial activity around the world; however, there is a wide variation in rates across economies,” says executive director of GEM, Mike Herrington.

“Social and environmental problems are ubiquitous in all economies. Hence, politicians, business leaders, and members of society are increasingly calling for endeavours that focus on social and environmental objectives – and entrepreneurs are responding!”

Further findings in the report go on to point out that males make up 55% of social entrepreneurs, while females are 45% — a gap smaller than that of commercial entrepreneurship.

“A holistic view of entrepreneurial activity may nuance the apparent gender gaps observed in global entrepreneurial activity as it seems that many women do display entrepreneurial behaviour albeit not as an employer or self-employed,” says lead author of the report, Neils Bosma.

“These women tend to pursue this role in a more social setting – for example by becoming a social entrepreneur or by making an entrepreneurial contribution in the public sector,” continues Bosma.

Read more: SA on entrepreneurial decline, says latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report

As with other entrepreneurial sectors, the majority of social entrepreneurs are under the age of 40; more specifically the 18 to 34 age range.

“Social entrepreneurship is often associated with young change-makers who are idealistic in nature,” says Bosma.

Further continuing the general trends of entrepreneurship, most social startups are self-funded, though only 30% of sub-Saharan Africa startups use their own capital.

Developing countries are also better at turning these social startups into operational and post-entrepreneurial phases.

“Governments are not equipped to solve all of the world’s problems – nor should they be – and are looking for innovative solutions from the private sector. Social entrepreneurs will play a vital role,” says the report’s co-author, Siri Terjesen.

“The world will be a better place if we can determine the most appropriate ways to support social entrepreneurs and scale up their solutions.”



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