Entrepreneurship – character or culture?

Become wildly successfulAssuming we can objectively define a social entrepreneur, what traits do we most associate with her/him?

‘Passionate’ is a much over-used description, which is not to deny it’s pretty important if you want to give your idea for bringing positive social change the best chance of succeeding.

I would also suggest that a social entrepreneur starting a business is often headstrong to the point of arrogance – a self-belief that something can, and will, work. That may explain the depth of early commitment and effort, other necessary ingredients in a social enterprise start-up.

Where I think the passion and self-belief creates tension is with the collaborative team-approach that my understanding of social enterprise embraces. Do social entrepreneurs take people with them or (intentionally or otherwise) protect their domain by guarding their best ideas and the inner workings of their minds?

This is relevant for the long term sustainability of a social enterprise because most innovative people behind a start-up are not ‘finishers’ – they get itchy feet and want to move on to new challenges. While this is probably a good move for them and the team (‘founder syndrome’ can destroy organisations) it should not be before their colleagues have the tools to sustain and develop the business that the entrepreneur started. Which requires a willingness to share and succession planning from an early stage.

See also: http://www.uk.coop/pressrelease/collaborative-entrepreneur

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