While a large percentage of companies have participated in philanthropy over the years and individual entrepreneurs have attempted to make a positive impact with their work, the concept of social entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular in recent years. The Skoll Foundation recently conducted a survey of social entrepreneurship trends. This post looks at the survey’s findings.
The threat of climate change becomes more and more obvious with each passing year. Climate change has ramifications for many social entrepreneurs. While some entrepreneurs work directly to combat climate change, others have no choice but to deal with the results of a changing world. Some question whether the Paris Climate Agreement will have a significant impact, especially with the Trump administration’s attitude toward climate change. Yet others view the increased awareness of climate change as a small victory.
Many entrepreneurs worry about the future of the world’s youth. Last year the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that youth unemployment was rising throughout the world. Youth who grow up with less opportunity than previous generations contribute to political instability and increased poverty. On the other hand, many observers realize that today’s youth are generally more educated than their parents—a fact that will contribute to their success later in life.
Nationalist movements seem to be gaining popularity worldwide, especially in Europe. The movements are a response to issues such as unemployment and feelings of exclusion from society. Leaders of nationalist movements often use language designed to divide “others” from the ingroup. Entrepreneurs worry about how these movements will impact their work.
Many social entrepreneurs are concerned about the impact that technology will have on their work. Some entrepreneurs embrace technology and the possibilities it has to positively affect the world. Yet others are concerned with there being a lack of digital literacy especially in relation to data. Plus, privacy is always a concern when it comes to online data.
The European refugee crisis is a topic of concern for many social entrepreneurs. This issue also relates to climate change since migration will increase as more location become uninhabitable. Refugees and migrants are at greater risk of radicalization and face a number of safety issues. Respondents believe that more work needs to be done to integrate refugees and migrants into larger society.
Several social entrepreneurs are focused on reducing the amount of inequality in the world. Although inequality has always existed, the divide between rich and poor has widened in recent years. Entrepreneurs are paying particular attention to the Global South’s access to financial services and how policy decisions affect the world’s poorest.