What’s more efficient than social entrepreneurship to spread the word for a good cause, to change the world for the better? And what’s better than the words of social entrepreneurs to motivate us? Words have immense power to light a spark within us, to make us smile, to make us think, and most importantly to inspire us to action. Keeping this in mind here’s dedicating to all readers out there, some of the most inspiring words from the stalwarts who helped make a difference to our world.
1 . Florence Nightingale.
It will be apt to call Florence Nightingale the world’s first social entrepreneur. She created the first professional school for nurses while establishing standards for hygiene and hospital care that have now shaped medical norms worldwide.
“Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”
“The world is put back by the death of everyone who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts to conventionality.”
“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”
2 . Bill Drayton
The founder of Ashoka Changemakers, Drayton is one who has changed the face of entrepreneurship by recognizing social entrepreneurs and taking initiatives to support them.
“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”
“What does an entrepreneur do? The first thing is they’ve given themselves permission to see a problem. Most people don’t want to see problems… Once you see a problem and you keep looking at it, you’ll find an answer.”
3 . Muhammad Yunus
The founder of Grameen Bank, Yunus is the pioneer of the concept of ‘microcredit’ that has helped revolutionize the lives of millions of small-scale businessmen in Bangladesh. His efforts have been such an inspiration that his model has been iterated on a global scale.
“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity… But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.”
“A charity dollar has only one life; a Social Business dollar can be invested over and over again.”
4. Jacqueline Novogratz
Jacqueline is the founder and CEO of Acumen, a nonprofit global venture capital fund that functions with the motto to address global poverty through smart and socially impactful entrepreneurial approaches.
“We need leaders, we ourselves need to lead from a place that has the audacity to believe that we ourselves can extend the fundamental assumption that all men are created equal to every, man woman and child on this planet. And we need the humility to recognize that we cannot do it alone.
“When systems are broken, it’s an opportunity for invention and innovation.”
5 . Bill Gates
Bill Gates is the person responsible for revolutionizing the world through the personal computer. He is much more than just a business magnate. He is an investor, an author, and a philanthropist. Besides being a big charity man, he will always be remembered for all the good work that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has done and still continues to do.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
“Humanity’s greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
6 . Verghese Kurien
Verghese Kurien, better known as the “Milkman of India”, was a legend who revolutionized the dairy industry in India. Through his venture Amul, he transformed India from being a milk-importing country to the largest producer of milk in the world. Furthermore, the self-ownership cooperative model of Amul helped lakhs of women to become financially independent.
“I have often spoken of integrity as the most important of these values, realizing that integrity – and personal integrity, at that – is being honest to yourself. If you are always honest to yourself, it does not take much effort in always being honest with others.”
“In every crisis, if you look carefully, you will spot an opportunity. My insistence is on finding and seizing that opportunity. I never try to side-step a crisis. Rather, the more monstrous the crises, the more I am tempted to rush at it, grasp it by the horns and maneuver it until it gives me what I want.”
7. David Bornstein
Bornstein is an author cum journalist whose forte is social innovation. His book ‘How to change the world’ may be rightly considered as the bible of social entrepreneurship as the book exploits social entrepreneurship and the power of new ideas. He is also the co-founder of Solutions Network Journalism.
“Every change begins with a vision and a decision to take action.”
“What business entrepreneurs are to the economy, social entrepreneurs are to social change. They are the driven, creative individuals who question the status quo, exploit new opportunities, refuse to give up, and remake the world for the better.”
“According to the management expert Peter F. Drucker, the term ‘entrepreneur’ (from the French, meaning ‘one who takes into hand’) was introduced two centuries ago by the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say to characterize a special economic actor – not someone who simply opens a business, but someone who ‘shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.’ The twentieth-century growth economist Joseph A. Schumpeter characterized the entrepreneur as the source of the ‘creative destruction’ necessary for major economic advances.
8 . Jeff Skoll
Skoll, the co-founder and the former President of eBay, stepped up his game by channeling his wealth for the greater good. He founded the Skoll Foundation to invest, recognize and connect social entrepreneurs, as well as Participant Media, to make movies that will help create a difference.
“A little bit of good can turn into a whole lot of good when fueled by the commitment of a social entrepreneur.”
“Philanthropy is all about making a positive difference in the world by devoting your resources and your time to causes you believe in. In my case, I like to support causes where “a lot of good comes from a little bit of good,” or, in other words, where the positive social returns vastly exceed the amount of time and money invested.”
“Not everyone can be Gandhi, but each of us has the power to make sure our own lives count – and it’s those millions of lives that will ultimately build a better world.”
9 . Jeffrey Hollender
In 1988, Jeffery Hollender along with Alan Newman acquired a small mail order catalog centered on energy conservation products known as Renew America, which eventually transformed into Seventh Generation Inc. Seventh Generation focuses on producing cleaning and personal care products that have a reduced environmental impact, and it donates 10% of pre-tax profits to funding nonprofits and businesses focused on the community, the environment, and responsible initiatives.
“ ‘What does the world need that you can provide?’
Express your social mission, whether it’s cause marketing, volunteering, culture, environmental initiatives, sustainable products, or corporate philanthropy
Start before scale: make a commitment, take small steps and then scale when you’re ready
Internalize and share your social mission
Be unfailingly transparent – ‘If you’re not scared by what you’re saying, you’re not sharing enough’. “
“I think that today, more so than ever, corporate responsibility is the best strategic as well as financial path that most businesses can follow. For most businesses, there are both compelling reasons to be responsible and compelling statistics that validate that responsible businesses do better according to traditional financial metrics. Of course, how you define ‘responsible’ is somewhat of a conundrum.”
10. Pierre Omidyar
Pierre Omidyar is a French-Iranian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist who co-founded eBay. He is increasingly gaining fame for his philanthropic efforts. The Omidyar Network , a venture philanthropy firm, is one such effort that invests in social entrepreneurs through a mix of grant and equity.
“If you give people the opportunity to do the right thing, you’ll rarely be disappointed.”
“If you can get over this initial distrust that people have of strangers, you can do remarkable things.”
“Long-term sustainable change happens if people discover their own power.”
So go on, get inspired and gear up to act so that the next words of inspiration come from none but you!