Social Entrepreneurs & Social Change
From the Desk of Brad Brown, SVP MN Executive Director
Social Venture Partners exists to fund and support the growth of innovative social entrepreneurs because we believe in the transformative power of entrepreneurship for social change. We’ve built our signature event, EPCON, around the two sides of the social entrepreneurship equation – the Mosaic Social Entrepreneurs Cup to recognize the social entrepreneur and the Engaged Philanthropist Award for the exemplary social investor.
The social entrepreneur and commercial entrepreneur have many characteristics in common: they are innovative, creatively destructive, thrive in environments of disequilibrium, and possess a high level of intrinsic motivation to succeed. But what sets them apart? The profit motive is what drives the commercial entrepreneur to create new technologies and even whole new markets. In distinction to the commercial entrepreneur, the social entrepreneur’s driving motivation is a social cause. The social entrepreneur, either through personal experience, or a refined sensitivity to the needs of others, has discovered a social problem that they find intolerable and have dedicated themselves to alleviating it.
As innovators, entrepreneurs fuel the engine of economic growth and social well-being. Social innovation is as old as the American Republic. The abolitionist movement was driven by civic and religious organizations and eventually found its way to public policy, as did the later American Civil Rights Movement. Today, many talk about education as the civil rights issue of our time. Social Venture Partners believes that the innovation of social entrepreneurs is just what is needed to bring about the broad and deep change required for all our children to receive the education they deserve. Dr. Tim Knowles, our keynote speaker at EPCON, will talk about the education innovation environment we must build here to re-invent our education system. Building on Dr. Knowle’s talk we will use EPCON to announce an emerging collaboration of education funders committed to bringing innovation to Minnesota education.
I invite you to join our community of engaged philanthropists at EPCON 2012 to take part in a celebration of the spirit of the social entrepreneur.