Does a daycare start-up = a social entrepreneur?

English: Portrait of 1-year-old baby girl

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A blank stare, a few fake nods and then the moment happens. His eyes widen, his eyebrows lift and he seems to get the concept of social entrepreneurship.  He summarizes my tangled words by asking, “So, someone who starts a daycare would she be a social entrepreneur?”

Uhhh… WWTD

What would Todd do?  Think.  Multiple times in class I would hear Todd guiding group conversations by saying, “If it makes the assignment easier, define the two words separately.”

Entrepreneur:  An individual who creates business in an area where the community was lacking. Keep in mind, that for the individual to stay in the business, it must be a business that is relevant and sustainable.

Social:  Beneficial to society.  To truly be considered beneficial it must have a positive long-term impact and in most cases promote self-reliance.

Social Entrepreneur:  Creates an entity that provides a positive societal impact that is sustainable and promotes self-reliance.

Assuming that you believe that daycare has a positive societal impact, under this definition an individual starting a daycare is a social entrepreneur.  However, something just doesn’t feel right about defining daycare start-ups as entrepreneurial.  Something is missing.  I think of a traditional daycare as more of a franchise.  In my personal definition, an individual who purchases a franchise is not an entrepreneur, rather a manager and opportunist.  Whereas, I feel that an entrepreneur needs to add something new or different to the market.

My new definition: A social entrepreneur is an individual that creates an entity that provides a positive societal impact which is sustainable, promotes self-reliance and addresses the societal issue in a new or improved way.

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