It only stands to reason that many entrepreneurs would be motivated by their social conscience. After all, there’s a lot going on in our world these days. From terrorism and its heartbreaking impact, to abject poverty (with its less than sufficient medical relief), from global environment to social economics – there’s certainly no shortage of dilemmas to be addressed.
To expect that politicians will solve it all is to shortchange our humanity, and what we are capable of accomplishing when a specific need presents itself. There’s another choice.
Something pretty special happens when government supports both advancements in technology and social entrepreneurship – an effect that seemingly defies gravity itself – with a determination to elevate the greater good above abject injustices, like poverty and discrimination.
Start From A Place Of Knowing
If you do a little research you’ll find that social-minded startup owners come from a place of meaningful intention. They know what it’s like to do without, and are quick to jump into action when they hear personal stories of people falling through the cracks because funds weren’t at the right place at the right time. Maybe they have a family member who has suffered with an intolerable affliction for which there is no cure, or have themselves survived insurmountable obstacles to get where they are today for tech for good.
If you scratch the surface of startups which operate with a mindset of social change, you’ll almost always find a motivated entrepreneur. A former business executive, with 10 years under his belt teaching management and sustainability, Steve Schein interviewed corporate officers with a dedication to ‘doing business better.’ His findings compelled him to write a book on the hidden power of ecological views, and how this insight will influence executives to help solve our planet’s larger social and environmental problems.
Enlist An Expert In Technology
If technical isn’t your forte, find a partner with the vision and expertise to build an engineering team, who can fill in the gaps for your business concept. Ellen Rubin has a new philosophy, after having failed in her first startup during the height of the dot-com era. Marketing is her specialty, and for her 2nd and 3rd startups (she’s currently cofounder of global storage network ClearSky Data) her strategy now includes aligning herself with a technical ‘other half.’ Ellen’s formula allows her to expand horizons by choosing “people who are interested in the same problems, but would be able to come up with a technical idea to solve those problems.”
Invention goes hand-in-hand with innovation, and legal advice for business brand protection is crucial to your unimpeded success. Be mindful that everything from intellectual property to company trademarks and patents should be addressed with a corporate lawyer prior to launching.
Incubation And The Next Generation
Why not tap into the fervour of today’s youth for tomorrow’s solutions? Take this outbox plan, for instance. San Francisco-based Salesforce recently collaborated with UK child genius, Anne-Marie Imafidon, to run an incubator summer school from a rented London house for girls aged 13-22 interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Anne Marie’s goal is to mentor other bright young women to create new apps and programmes which have the ability to benefit society in some way. They’ll be taught new skills, encouraged to innovate and conceptualise their own startups, and eventually be introduced to key females in this male-driven tech industry for tech for good.
Funding Your Social Enterprise
The revolutionary elements of tech-for-good are seeds already firmly planted in UK soil – a nation well familiar with the necessity of getting involved when societal norms are disrupted. Two clear examples of socially-immersed organisations currently making a difference here are:
Nominet Trust – Since 2008, it has invested more than £17 million in Internet-related projects that improve lives and communities. According to their site, the mission is to “bring together, invest in and support people making imaginative use of technology to address complex social challenges.” You can nominate a project, or browse through their annual top 100 winning projects for inspiration.
The Young Foundation – Based in London’s Bethnal Green, this organisation was established in 1954 by entrepreneur Michael Young as the Institute for Community Studies (ICS). An urban studies think tank, it merged in 2005 with the Mutual Aid Centre to become the Young Foundation. As a four month accelerator programme, they “support start-ups in health, education and housing with expert tutoring, business support and social investment.” They have been an important part of the UK’s social research, public debate, and transformational progress, and have created more than 60 social businesses.
Linkilaw believes in revolutionary ideas when it comes to core human rights – including the public’s right of access to optimal and factually correct advice from a lawyer when needed.
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