Importance of understanding social entrepreneurship during Covid-19


From the ancient period of time social entrepreneurship, social business and social investment have been perceived as pillar of success. A social entrepreneur has to prioritize the interest of society over own interests (Hockerts, 2015). In Bangladesh, there are a good number of social entrepreneurs but long run sustainability with competencies are important factor. Sajeeb Wazed Joy can be termed as a social entrepreneur for his able guidance in the digitalization process of the county since his idea of digital Bangladesh by way of a 'Nation Brand” aimed at the progress of the nation. During this pandemic, Bangladesh as a whole getting benefit of digital Bangladesh. In future innovation and accessibility in the process of IT may further rise. Database of the unemployed people who are job seekers in the ward level need to be kept.

During ongoing pandemic Bangladesh Prime Minister have been playing laudable role and for her wisdom and leadership praised in worldwide as a perfect  crisis manager who is fighting for wellbeing of the human. She is trying hard to use Cottage, Micro, small and medium enterprises to reach poorer section of the country through banking channel though most banks are not taking the opportunity for helping poor people. In the forthcoming budget (2021-21) which was declared recently in the national parliament of Bangladesh, special scope for women entrepreneurs and reduction of tax for small business as well as some sectors of corporate taxation were provided. Bangladesh Krishi Bank, RAKUB, Bangladesh development bank and Probashi Kalllayn Bank should come forward to create social entrepreneurs in the country by taking special programmes through supporting fund to them. 

In Bangladesh lot of banks misuses their Corporate social responsibility fund which is ambiguous. Rather for establishing an economic incubator in Dhaka School of Economics from CSR fund, help should be done as the institute taught three degrees in Entrepreneurship programme: Bachelor of Entrepreneurial Economics, Post graduate Diploma in Enterprise development and master of Entrepreneurship Economics programme. Economic incubator will give practical exposure to do business. Only depending on NGOs for doing social entrepreneurship is not sustainable in the long run. Under COVID19 situation, social entrepreneurs should come forward to produce anti vaccine of COVID19 by establishing a standard lab and inventing the vaccine which must be international benchmarking and following the guidelines of the WHO and also the rules and regulations of the medical practices and norms of the country. 

The stakeholders, who accept social business typically can only get back bone their preliminary investment and are not allowable to take any dividend outside that point. Social entrepreneurship is when one starts a business for a humanitarian reason. Activity of the social entrepreneurs in the country need to do audit trail. Financing of the social entrepreneurs irrespective of religion should be done in a transparent manner. Under COVID 19 situation, Bangladesh needs to conduct awareness campaign by the social entrepreneurs of maintaining health regulation and use of mask. As lot of students are not getting extra job, so social entrepreneurs may take a scheme to provide them part time job as well as in case of digital divide, help them to bring under Internet solution and may lend poor but meritorious students laptop, smart phone for using education purpose.

 But in reality, it may differ. Some social entrepreneurs take profit; some also retain for future expansion. Social entrepreneurship relates to mixture of social service and entrepreneurship and focuses on social needs. A social enterprise is a type of business where the bottom line and success metrics are measured in more than just profits. Instead, social enterprises typically measure success based on a triple bottom line: People, planet, profit.

Examples of social entrepreneurship include educational programs, providing banking services in underserved areas, and helping children orphaned by epidemic disease, Green HRM etc. BRAC has 16 types of social entrepreneurship programs. The knowledge of how to motivate, groom and nurture an individual to be a social entrepreneur that adopts SBM is critically linked with behavioral intentions. Social entrepreneurship can change or impact on the social setup and social fiber in developed and developing nations specifically at the bottom of the pyramid level. 

In many cases, social entrepreneurs do make money. They're living proof that you can be successful as a business owner and do good at the same time. However, in some cases, the entrepreneurs elect not to take a profit for themselves. Social entrepreneurship does seem to work, however, in an “outsourcing” capacity, where it partners with a government or donor to implement programs and perform outreach. Commercial entrepreneurial determined differs from social entrepreneurial intent mainly on the basis of the objectives of the outcome. A problem for the commercial entrepreneur is an opportunity for the social entrepreneur.

Social entrepreneurs do not always find it easier to raise capital. Economic growth and employment may work in opposite direction due to 4th industrial revolution for which transformation of human to knowledge and skill in digitalization is required. Environmental challenges and social challenges as well as formalizing the informal sector are also mitigate the gap by the social entrepreneur. Collaboration between social (e.g., family, educational institutions), political (e.g., government, NGOs) and economic (i.e., profit, non-profit big businesses and SMEs) agents of the society and consequent collective intervention slowly and surely will create a positive change in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of developing countries.  Social entrepreneurship is important because it provides a framework for businesses to find their own success in the pursuit of helping others. Besides assisting in overcoming poverty and achieving social integration, social entrepreneurship can also help in creating productive employment. There are two areas to focus on, one is job creation and second is skilling and reskilling. Policies around skill development to fueling various sectors with funds, boosting the social entrepreneurship sector or building the social economy is also one of the effective mediums. Social entrepreneurs have proven how employees, customers, suppliers, local communities and the environment can benefit. Lack of access to support and advisory services, lack of finance and funding, lack of technical skills and social enterprise awareness are some of the barriers to growth. Social innovation is helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems with new solutions such as fair trade, distance learning, mobile money transfer, restorative justice, and zero-carbon housing. The focus of social entrepreneurship should be not the “enterprise” but the beneficiary. Its design should flow from, and be anchored to, the needs and capacities of the beneficiaries. Profit-making should be secondary to making impact. Hence, charitable donations and nonprofit capability that can add value to the beneficiary should be a welcome part of the solutions set. Social entrepreneurship, as a sector, has contributed towards employment generation and skill development for jobs; and has a long way to be a major driver of improving employment status nationwide. CMSME female entrepreneurs is an important means to bring positive changes in the socio-economic development of Bangladesh but may only be possible as part of broader social reforms. 


Muhammad Mahboob Ali is Professor and expert in the field of Macro and financial economics, entrepreneurial management and ICT, Dhaka School of Economics, Constituent Institution of the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.