Passion for the Business!
The first and foremost characteristic shared by successful social entrepreneurs is a passion for their business, whether it is in the case of a new firm or an existing business. This passion typically stems from the social entrepreneur’s belief that the business will positively influence people’s lives.
Consider is the case with Aquaflow, a company that transforms algae grown on sewage into a substitute for crude oil. It’s founder, Nick Gerritsen, intends to influence governmental urgency on climate change. Making a difference in people’s lives is also the primary motivator behind many social enterprises, which are often started by people who set aside promising careers to pursue a social goal.
This was also the case with John Wood, the founder of Room to Read, the author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. Wood’s intense passion to serve children in developing economies compelled him to cash in small amounts of Microsoft stock to buy books and build schools, even before exiting the company.
Wood finally left Microsoft to lead Room to Read full-time. As of May 2011, Room to Read had built over 1,440 schools and distributed over 9.4 million books in developing parts of the world.
Passion is critically important for both for-profit and not-for-profit entrepreneurial organizations because, while rewarding, the process of starting a firm or building a social enterprise is grueling and demanding.
There are five primary reasons passion is important. Each of these reasons reflects a personal attribute that passion engenders. Removing just one of these qualities would make it much more difficult to launch and sustain a successful entrepreneurial organization.
See Adam Slack for:
Barringer, Bruce. Entrepreneurship, 4th Edition. Pearson Higher Education (UK), 2013-05-20. VitalBook file.
The Sector Inc., 2017