Friday, March 15, 2013

Social Entrepreneurship For The 21st Century by Georgia Levenson Keohane

Quick note: I moved out of my dorm today. I may not get internet for a while, and I'll be settling down into my new apartment, so I might not post new reviews for a few days (hopefully though, I can get my internet the day I arrive)

Do you think that business should not be focusing only on profit, but also think of ways they can improve the markets they're in? Or to even aim at disadvantaged markets? Well, I used to think that this was either part of Corporate Social Responsiblity, or the reason why Non-profit Organisations exist.

But, this book challenged me to think otherwise. Sure, it's quite technical, but it has so many case studies that just by reading them, you can get a feel of how these new businesses are trying to operate.

In a nutshell, social entrepreneurship well, it's extremely hard to define. But like it's name suggests, it uses techniques common in entrepreneurship, and the work done is system changing and innovation. According to the author, "system changing" refers to "systematic" and "far-reaching" change. So it's like a huge business, but for good.

The book is divided into three parts: Social Entrepreneurship in the Nonprofit Sector, Social Impact in the Private Sector and Social Innovation in the Public Sector. Well, there is a fourth part, where they discuss the debates going around this issue (for example, introducing business practices may lead to an over-emphasis on the needs of Nonproft Organisations to make a profit (or at least break-even), which in turn may detract from their original purpose.

I found this book extremely interesting. Sure, it was dry at times, but who cares! Ok, fine, most people care. I think the "dryness" comes from the large amount of technical terms like Social Impact Bonds, which, although are explained, make this book seem to be aimed at the specialist rather than the laymen. And in some of the case studies, too many corporate names are given, and it doesn't feel like a story at all.

In conclusion, I think this book is great for those who are interested in this fairly new field. But, since there's a large amount of technical terms, it'll probably be best that the reader have at least some background knowledge in business.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this galley from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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