Start-up culture has rapidly caught on in the past decade, and a sub-culture has grown within it – that of social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship involves building businesses that, in addition to making profits, also focus on driving positive change by addressing social problems.
Young entrepreneurs are driving this trend, and the number of social enterprises in the world is on the rise. For example, in the UK 70,000 social enterprises contribute £18.5 billion to the economy (2012).
Large corporations are eager to encourage this trend and support social businesses, as part of their own corporate social responsibility, brand purpose, innovation and business diversification. Take liquor giant Chivas Regal’s The Venture – a global project aimed at funding start-ups that benefit local communities or solve global problems. The Venture is a global social innovation challenge that gives entrepreneurs the chance to win a portion of $1 million, participate in an accelerator program and gain access mentors.
Launched in 2014, The Venture is back for season two.
Watch: Chivas: Win the right way
16 social entrepreneurs, 16 countries
Earlier this year, social entrepreneurs from 16 countries participated in the final round of The Venture, pitching their idea to judges and competing for funds. Their experience, and the shortlisting of the candidates has been captured in a video-series (available on YouTube). 16 winners, from 16 countries participated in the accelerator program.
Chivas also partnered with crowdfunding site Indiegogo, to give people a chance to participate and support their favorite entrepreneurs. On Indiegogo, people could vote to tell Chivas how to divide $250,000 from the $1 million prize money. In addition, people could give funds directly to the social entrepreneurs – each entrepreneur had their own Indiegogo crowdfunding page. In all, the entrepreneurs raised US 1.1 million.
The contest culminated with Chilean food distribution enterprise Algramo emerging as the winner, and was given the largest share of the $1 million fund – $ 300,000 – to further develop their idea.
The first seasons was so popular – with 1,000 entries from across the world – that Chivas decided to launch it again. Fresh applications are already being accepted, and the winner is slated to be announced in 2016. Chivas also announced plans to launch an Australian version of The Venture.
More and more people today want to be actively involved in making a difference, and many are seeking the entrepreneurial route to do so.
There’s a growing awareness that business can be a force for good, that purpose-driven businesses can change lives for the better. People are beginning to realize that it’s difficult for non-profits to alone effect change at a large scale – businesses need to step in to accelerate it.
The 16 social entrepreneurs participating in The Venture
Collaborative social innovation challenges can be a good way for large businesses to support social entrepreneurship.
- Read about a similar initiative by Coca-Cola, the Coca-Cola Founders Program – through which the company is partnering with entrepreneurs, and using its own scale and expertise to help them achieve scale.
This post is a part of our People’s Insights monthly brief for August & September, Innovation without Boundaries.