Community minded entrepreneurism is the process of creating solutions to society’s problems through a for profit company. Although there has been some debate as to whether or not community minded entrepreneurism is limited to for profit companies or can be used to describe a wider range of organizations such as environmentalists and non-profit organizations, most can agree that private companies working to improve their communities are great examples of community minded entrepreneurism. While non-profits and other organizations contribute positively to their community, community minded businesses can help in unique ways. For profit businesses founded by community minded entrepreneurs provide jobs, goods and services to their community that other organizations cannot.
Here are some Prominent Examples of Community Minded Entrepreneurship:
- Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Grameen Bank, a microfinance organization and community finance bank in Bangladesh. This bank, and its growing network of others like it, gives small loans to the poor without requiring collateral and with fair interest rates. These microloans allow impoverished people to establish their own businesses and ventures without going deeply into debt, which could cripple their earning power. This concept is based on the idea that the poor have under-utilized skills and can earn more money with greater incentive. The bank employs a group based credit approach that uses peer pressure to ensure the debtors use their loans responsibly and build their credit. Grameen Bank is committed to serving underrepresented populations, including women, who make up 98% of the bank’s borrowers.
- Dr. Abraham George, a successful American businessman founded the George Foundation in India in 1995. Its projects are centered on three objectives: alleviate poverty, protect health and the environment, and improve governance. The George Foundation alleviates poverty by providing impoverished children access to a useful education, provides healthcare, and trains adults in agriculture and business, and a support structure for artists to allow them more exposure and further training. The George Foundation has set up centers for the provision of healthcare for workers in the local villages, as well as home health checks and clinics. The foundation helps improve governance with its journalism schools and Centers for Studies in Emerging Critical Issues.
- In the United States, some companies distribute their profits to causes that improve the community and society. Newman’s Own, for example, donates all of its profits to educational charities. So far, the Newman’s Own Foundation has donated over three hundred and seventy million dollars to ecological and educational charities since the brand was founded in 1982. NIKA Water Company donates its profits to bring clean water to the world’s most impoverished areas. Both of these companies are a bit different than other business ventures around the world, but they are both for profit companies seeking to affect change in communities that need it most.
Whether these private companies are actively changing a community abroad or at home, they all share a common goal to contribute to their society and affect change at ground level. Community minded entrepreneurism is business designed to strengthen society and communities around the world. This comes from a genuine wish to help others near or far by identifying how best to affect change in the world. New entrepreneurs are in business to make money, but not at the expense of the world or their specific community. Community minded entrepreneurs with an online MPA degree want to make a difference with their business not just with products they provide, but with their work inside the community and abroad. Wanting to help others and try to fix society’s problems can be a daunting challenge, but this spirit truly defines community minded entrepreneurship.