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Friday, October 14, 2011

Social Entrepreneurship Blends with Social Commerce



While it has been common for successful corporate tycoons such as John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates to set up enormous trusts for charity, the new trend is for smaller companies – including start-up businesses – to weave social and charitable causes into their business plans. This helps businesses meet their business objective while driving social impact; the incorporation of charitable and social service causes in their social commerce strategy makes businesses stand out from others and gives them a competitive advantage. 


Microplace, an eBay Company, provides micro-financing
to people in need. 
An example of social entrepreneurship was demonstrated at a booth in Paypal’s Innovate conference: a small social responsibility company called Microplace is making a key contribution in people’s lives. Simply stated, Microplace enables small businesses and the common public to make investments in the fight against worldwide poverty while earning a return. The funds that people invest in Microplace are used for microfinancing projects that help the working poor while getting real returns for the investors. The success of Microplace proves that while raising and effectively distributing that kind of capital to the people who need it is a daunting task, it is indeed possible. 

Another example of a business that makes social entrepreneurship integral to a company’s selling strategy is TOMS Shoes Inc. This company came up with an appealing way to integrate a social cause into their selling strategy: they promised to give a new pair of shoes to children in need around the world with every pair they sold.

Salesforce.com Foundation also has its social entrepreneurship program, and it is based on a simple idea: donate 1% of Salesforce.com’s resources to support organizations that are working to make our world a better place. The resources include:

-  A set number of paid days which company's employees can spent on community projects
-  Free or discounted usage of the company's products
- 1% of company's founding stock set aside to fund grants.


In fact, you don’t even have to start a company to use the power of social entrepreneurship.  Kalpanik S. author of “Inside the Giant Machine: An Amazon.com Story” recently announced that for every copy of any of his books bought at Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobles, he is going to donate a textbook to a child in need in South Asia.

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