Why We Need Social Capitalists
It is often said that the responsibility of an entrepreneur is to make a better product at a better price. But I personally think an entrepreneur’s mission is something much greater than that.
The job of an entrepreneur is to better serve more people and to make the world a better place.
In 1983, while I was studying with Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller, he said, “I do what God wants done.”
That year, I was in the rock and roll business. I was having fun. It was cool hanging out with some of the greatest bands of the time like the Police and Van Halen. But I could not honestly say that producing products for rock bands was what God wanted done, even though I was making a lot of money.
I learned that entrepreneurs have a duty to make the world a better place. Sometimes that means we solve a problem and sometimes it means we bring enlightenment.
So I’ll ask the question: What do you think God wants done?
Although I can’t say I really know, I suspect God does not want people to live in poverty.
Fuller predicted a lot of things, and one of them was that in the future people would be paid to not work.
People (like innovators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries) would solve our problems. Not governments, politicians, or bureaucrats. Fuller’s optimism for paying people not to work was based on his theory that people would then be free to solve our planet’s problems rather than just go to work.
Fuller asked our class over and over, “What does God want done?” He reminded us that it is not, “What do I want to do?” Or, “I want to do what I love.” He challenged us to look to the future and imagine what God wants done.
And, it’s been said that Fuller often asked himself, “What can I do? I’m just a little guy.”
With this in mind, Kim and I took our leap of faith in 1984. We asked ourselves what God wanted done and what we could do. We, too, were just “little people.”
That year we began teaching outside the school system. Since I loved learning but hated school, Kim and I began teaching the way my rich dad taught me. This included playing games and having fun, learning about money, business, and being an entrepreneur. We used music, sang songs to inspire our spirits, and focused on solving problems, rather than making money.
That model of education has carried us all over the world.
Social entrepreneurship has emerged rapidly in the last decade. It’s a wave that started because people are coming to the conclusion that governments around the world are failing to solve social problems. To combat that problem, businesses have decided to step up and fight for change.
Social Entrepreneurs are not driven by money; they are inspired by purpose and the motivation is usually deeply personal. The goal of a social entrepreneur is to build sustainable businesses with a higher purpose. Social entrepreneurs are typically non-profit and need to earn funding, while Social Capitalists are for-profit entities that create their own funding.
The size of nonprofit organizations has grown significantly over the years. Colleges and universities are offering more degree programs for those interested in jobs with a social focus. Most major MBA programs now offer some classes on social entrepreneurship. There are even foundations that solely invest in social entrepreneurs. It’s a revolution to aid change.
- Gregory Dees, adjunct professor and founding faculty director of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, is considered an academic leader in the area of social entrepreneurship. In 2006, at a gathering hosted by New Profit Inc., Dees said that the term “social entrepreneur” conveys “this blending of sectors—a mixture of the social purpose we typically associate with nonprofits and the kind of entrepreneurial orientation we associate with business, particularly with the most creative and dynamic aspect of business.”
In other words, social entrepreneurs build businesses that make sense while accomplishing social missions.
Freedom of speech could be abolished once and for all…and that’s not the worst of it.
If you look around, I’m sure you’ll see countless problems to solve. Why not use the power of private enterprise to address these problems?
From the lack of financial education to addiction, fighting sex trafficking, child abuse, clean water, crime, food, housing…the list is endless. Private enterprise can deliver solutions to social issues, but it’s going to take people like you who are willing to take a stand and be the change.
One of my best friends is a young man named Greg. He is a social entrepreneur. More specifically, he runs a school for kids with severe learning disabilities, kids the California school system cannot or will not handle.
Greg is a teacher and a social entrepreneur who operates from the B and I side of the quadrant. The teachers he hires are from the E and S side. Greg and his teachers work in the same school but live in two completely different worlds.
I have known Greg since he was 19 years old. Today, he is a millionaire at age 33, and he jokingly tells people he’s successful because he has a Ph.D.—a public high (school) degree. Many of the teachers he hires, however, do have real PhDs. As you can imagine, there is sometimes animosity between Greg and his teachers. Greg’s dream is to own dozens of schools, hire hundreds of teachers, and be able to teach thousands of challenged kids.
Ask yourself, what gets you up and motivated in the morning?
What problems do you see in the world?
Sometimes your motivation comes from something intensely personal. Other times it might just be something that pisses you off and you know you have to do something about it.
A true business only exists to solve a problem and to make life better. If what you do doesn’t benefit others, it’s not meaningful. Great brands are not only genuine, but they are also meaningful.
At Rich Dad, we are doing our best to fill an educational void caused by the lack of financial education in our schools.
We know a major problem in society is the lack of financial education.
When combined with other forces, this lack of financial education is causing a growing gap between rich and poor along with a shrinking middle class. Job loss, low pay, higher taxes, declining home values, rising inflation, unaffordable medical care, and a lack of retirement savings are all decimating the majority of Americans.
If you are thinking about starting a business, you can understand what makes your business meaningful by thinking through the following questions:
- What is the problem you want to solve?
- Why is it a problem?
- What causes the problem?
- If your business were gone tomorrow, what would the world lose?
- What makes you think you can solve the problem?
- How does your product or service solve the problem?
- How does your product or service make your customer’s life better?
- What do you think your customers really need from a company like yours?
Just like Fuller, I believe that innovators and entrepreneurs will solve our world’s problems.
The question is, will you be one of those who will make a difference?
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily