Social Entrepreneurship in KSA
By Jood Al Harthy, Tasamy
Hey, you. Yeah, you. So what did you do for the world today? Breathing doesn’t count.
Well, social entrepreneurs are doing a bit more than that, something along the lines of leaving an impact and making money out of that.
Social business, known as social enterprise, is tailored to solve a social problem and make profit so to accomplish long-term sustainability. A solution that profits from its own self, hence it can stand on its own two feet and survive the fierce market. It’s not only doing good, it’s doing good smart.
It can be quite challenging to start a social enterprise, so individuals can seek guidance in incubators like Tasamy for Social Entrepreneurship. The organization encourages aspiring entrepreneurs with innovative long-term solutions, and polishes them up. Likewise there are other institutions, governmental and non-governmental, that celebrate social projects in the region.
As an example, Mashal Al Kharashi approached Tasamy through their “Kun” for Food Waste contest. His winning idea is titled “Mashal’s Plate.” The traditional party meal is a big whopping plate of meat and rice, with lots of leftovers. Al Kharashi decided to design a plate that would save up to 30 percent of the rice being thrown away per use. He underwent the program’s 90 days of mentorship and sessions with specialized advisors in the field. He was guided on how to contact investors, discussed his idea with likeminded advisors, and built it through analytical research and brainstorming sessions. This stage is vital for every social entrepreneur because it enhances the project’s innovative qualities and applicability with today’s culture and resources.
Another challenging aspect is ensuring a long-term quality in your project. Meaning, it must make profit to fund itself. If the idea is the heart of the enterprise, then financial sustainability is the heartbeat! A great example is Mawakeb Alajer. A goodwill project that recently won the King Khalid 2015 Prize under the “Partners of Development Category.” It’s a second-hand shop where people can give away their unwanted items, so that they’ll be presented in the store and sold for cheap prices. Afterwards, the profit is divided among the less fortunate.
Be Socially Positive
Social businesses must focus on serving a social problem and having a positive influence. It’s high time we realize that we hold a responsibility on tackling our social issues, whether it’s by a start-up, developing an app or creating a program. Although it is a cliché, this world does need us.
You are capable of creating a lasting impact through your ideas. Seek guidance from institutions such as Tasamy and other experts. Work on building your idea through research, and studying the current market. Above all, is to never lose heart. Stay committed.
Just open your eyes wide and look at the surrounding social problems. Next, open your mind – really open it.
Then, with a ton of aspiration and brains, start a business. A social business. To make a change.