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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, practical, inspiring
It happens that I do want to be a social entrepreneur, but until I read the book I didn't really understand that this was what I was going to be called. This is a very human book, written as if he were chatting to us face to face, to help people to get up and running, making sure that they've done the groundwork before they start to sew the seeds.
A social enterprise...
Published on 18 Feb. 2011 by Mrs. R.

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit wishy-washy
Despite the various rave reviews on Amazon I was disappointed by this book. Whatever the subject, whether it negotiation, sales, fundraising etc.. there's usually one or two "aha!" books on Amazon that provide new genuinely new advice, a genuinely useful system or a take on the subject matter. This wasn't one of those books for me. It just turned out to be some...
Published on 5 May 2013 by Mr. T. M. Ashe


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, practical, inspiring, 18 Feb. 2011
By 
Mrs. R. "Polymath" (London, England, UK.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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It happens that I do want to be a social entrepreneur, but until I read the book I didn't really understand that this was what I was going to be called. This is a very human book, written as if he were chatting to us face to face, to help people to get up and running, making sure that they've done the groundwork before they start to sew the seeds.
A social enterprise can be anything from a fundraising tea organised by volunteers every Thursday in the village hall, to an international enterprise selling fair trade panama hats from Ecuador. As long as the prime objective is not just to stash cash for the shareholders, and you are putting people, planet or animals first, your organisation can be a social enterprise.
When I worked for an organisation that does care more about the effect it has than the money it makes, we always came up against people saying in an accusatory way, "but you make a profit!" as if this was the same as "but you've sold your souls to the devil!". Unless you've learned a bit about management accounting you might not understand that without profits to reinvest it all goes pear shaped, and if you go out of business, you can't make a difference at all.
How to be a Social Entrepreneur will help the people with profit phobia to get over it before they start their own organisations. Robert Ashton gives us useful examples of businesses and groups that are doing it well, gives us links to the right websites and good guides to selling and marketing. Again, I've met people who are certain that these are two more of the devil's own temptations. Ashton helps to explain that they are just tools; you can use them for well for good or badly for evil, but if you don't use them at all you're likely to fade into nothingness pretty quickly.
Yes, great; if you've got a cause, a passion, or a belief that you can change the world and still make a living, buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People, planet and profit, 23 Jun. 2011
This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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People, planet and profit

I really enjoyed this book. It's a subject I'm interested in and it offers another perspective for anyone considering starting their own business. You too could be a social entrepreneur! And as the book says - you can still make money and change the world at the same time. Chapters on what social entrepreneurship is and the history of it; chapters focusing on you, your background and what you want to do to change the world, and defining your style; others on how to get started, write a business plan, find funding etc, and giving back to your community will help you on your way. The book is full of examples and snippets of information and quotes from other social entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Bob Geodolf and Jamie Oliver. It's only a small quote but I liked the story told about Richard Branson's mother stopping the car a few miles from home when he was only four years old and made him find his way home because it would teach him the importance of stamina and a sense of direction. I think Richard Branson's sense of direction is dead on, especially in business, so maybe it worked! 5/5
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit wishy-washy, 5 May 2013
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Despite the various rave reviews on Amazon I was disappointed by this book. Whatever the subject, whether it negotiation, sales, fundraising etc.. there's usually one or two "aha!" books on Amazon that provide new genuinely new advice, a genuinely useful system or a take on the subject matter. This wasn't one of those books for me. It just turned out to be some fairly generic belly-gazing self-help (what's your mission, do you have what it takes etc...), followed by some useful insight into the different types of legal entities from charities to limited companies, followed by fairly wishy-washy business & sales advice (monitor your cash flow, features & benefits etc...)

For the non-profit side of things I preferred The Little Book of Gold by Erik Hanberg. Although it's more squarely directed at small non-profits as opposed to social entrepreneurs, I found to have a little bit more about it - its own angle. There must be plenty of others out there.

For the business side of things Jeffery Gitomers sales books are always a decent bet (along with "Start with No" by Jim Camp for negotiation).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 26 May 2011
By 
Dr. Michael Heron (Brechin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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In short, this is an excellent book - there are lots of books on the topic of 'how to make money', but hardly any that incorporate a social or ethical dimension. The book is clear, well structured and with genuinely helpful advice rather than the usual buzzwords and empty platitudes I associate with these kind of publications. It's also inspiring in a way that few books are - it's very easy to make an attempt to inspire by filling a book full of vague catchphrases, but this book manages something more difficult - it inspires by making the goals seem accessible. This isn't a self-help book in the traditional sense, because it is far more practical. It isn't a training manual in the traditional sense either, because the advice given is not comprehensive. It's really exactly what it says in the title - a book that explains, structures and contextualizes the challenges involved in both attempting to provide a social good as well as earn money.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading - might even change your life, 22 Mar. 2011
By 
Don Panik (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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I was at a seminar the other day which was attended by an interesting mix of bankers (mostly reformed), VCS, social entrepreneurs, commissioners, academics and a smattering of government officials. The topic was 'social impact bonds' - a new class of investment that allows for investment in projects that have a social return for society, save the government money and allow investors to get a return thus opening up new sources of funding for good works.

The point is though, it is people rather than finance that make a difference but having a good heart alone is not enough. Being smart in business, getting a return (even if you use it to re-invest in your cause) as well as having the drive to succeed in making a difference in your chosen field are required. In my experience not many people naturally have all the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Some have good instincts, and some have good connections, but most of us simply don't know what we don't know. The result is a lot of hand to mouth charity work - which can never make more than a small dent on the issues that need to be tackled.

This book makes a useful contribution to the field. It will make you think about whether you have the passion to succeed, and will start to make you think about areas that you didn't know about. It doesn't and nor could it, give you all the answers. But if you have it in you - reading this could just be the start of something very important. Something that could maybe even change the world a little for the better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Social Enterprise For Dummies, 20 Jan. 2011
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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"Social enterprises are businesses trading for social and environmental purposes"- Social Enterprise Coalition

If you are a person with a passion for social change who wants a handbook on how to make a difference whilst breaking even, this may well help. It's a beginners guide to setting up a business/charity (including from within an established organisation) and is aimed at leaders, starters and those with a cause. If nothing dramatic has happened to, or been witnessed by you to fuel a passion, it's unlikely this book is for you. (The early chapters have direct questions to work through, such as 'Who are your heroes and in what ways do you want to be more like them?' which is directly followed in italics by 'The most successful people are those who know themselves well and are comfortable with the way they are'.)

Written in 2010, it appears to be written as a 'how to' for people engaging with Cameron's (and to a lesser extent New Labour's) Big Society model, with private enterprise taking on the supply of social services and becoming the medium for activism. The book discusses models of social enterprises that are part funded by grants, but sustainability through profit-based income is the main theme.

It describes the trend of consumer demand for ethics as well as service, giving increasing market advantage to corporations that are actively responsible, and so suggests a model to fund and growth in numbers of social enterprises. Corporate responsibility is discussed as a key to acquiring initial support, funding and business partners.

It's written like a textbook or a presentation with a summary and links at the end of each chapter.
Quite basic in tone, the text accessible and seminar style gives the book the tone of a motivational speaker. The bullet points have icons and without much work it could easily be re-jacketed as 'Social Enterprise for Dummies'.

It includes an interesting collection of concise case studies and examples, with links to websites for further information and contact details. The quotes at the start of each chapter are enjoyable, coming from a range of comics, entrepreneurs and authors.

This book is for you if you want to change the world and like business seminars, bullet points, boxouts, 'do and don't' lists, short examples, and summary bullets at the end of each chapter every 10-20 pages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not about knitting tofu, 21 Jun. 2012
By 
Ross Boardman "Ross B" (Staffordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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I came to this book with some high expectations. Another book on my shelves is "The Entrepreneurs Book of Checklists" by the same author. That book is excellent, so the bar is set high.

There are very much two schools of thought on what a social enterprise is. First there are the craft products produced in a commune which pretty much have a mismatch between quality and price. Second there is the sustainable enterprise that deals with doing good. Thankfully the author concerns himself with the second view.

Businesses such as Jamie Olivers "15", Anita Roddicks "Bodyshop" and of course, Kiva all fit into this. Each business does good things by helping out a cause or giving people new forms of access to the market. This book takes you through the most important areas of business and each is explained well. This is not a business book dropped on top of a social enterprise model, it's a lot more specific than that. Areas like business structure and funding are a lot different in this niche, which is made obvious.

Overall a very good book, well written and certainly deep enough to get the social enterpreneur thinking and acting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make Your Own World-Changing Wonga!, 27 Jan. 2012
By 
Newton "Sassy Brit" (Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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About
=====
This is the first book about becoming a social entrepreneur I have read. I have to say, this is something I would love to do, perhaps for a well-known, existing charity, however, there are lots of ideas for coming up with my own business / brand, if I feel passionately enough about making lots of money to change the world and make a real difference with my own social enterprise. And you can, too with the help of this invaluable social enterprise start up guide.

Best Bits
======
The practical examples of real-life scenarios is top notch reading material and so informative.
Each chapter is summarised at the end, with additional and very useful notes directing the reader to other places to find out more and do more research on the topics discussed.

Worst Bits
=======
This is such a super book I just couldn't fault it.

Layout
=====
The book is split up into five parts:
* What - an explanation of what a social entrepreneur and enterprise really is.
* Who - Is it for you? Find out in this part.
* How to Start - From business plans to structure and governance, it's all here.
* How to Grow - Selling, money management and standing out from the crowd!
* How to Share - I particularly liked `Building a Winning Team' and `Building a Community in this section.

Overall
=====
If I had a hat on, I'd raise it to Mr. Robert Ashton for his impressive, comprehensive, life-changing guide, which I couldn't put down. `How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World', is an inspiring read, and I defy anyone intent on becoming a social entrepreneur to be successful without it. This book is social supremacy at it's best. Now I want to read the other book this author, Robert Ashton, has written. It's called `The Entrepreneur's Book of Checklists' and that sounds right down my alley. If you've read it, let me know what you thought!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to be a Social Entrepreneur? Read this book!, 11 Dec. 2010
This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
There's a lot of books now coming out about social entrepreneurship. Some are written by journalists, others by academics - not that many by real social entrepreneurs. Robert Ashton is a social entrepreneur who also knows how to write in highly pleasurable way about his subject. This book isn't just covering the bases around finance, sales, operations etc - though it does this very well. Robert starts with the person - you. He understands that the main thing that determines success isn't the business plan or the bank but the person themselves. Reading this book, as a maybe social entrepreneur helps you to understand whether or not this is a journey for you. It asks you to be honest - and help you to do so!

A lot of books make social entrepreneurship sound like the heroic pursuit of the few - a bit like space-travel or ultra-marathoning. This one doesn't. Robert is keen to cast the net wide, even to people who are not entrepreneurs in the classic sense - but also 'intrapreneurs' people inside companies who make the running, take risks and create value. This includes public sector people, a very relevant group as the new Coalition Government encourages state employees to utilize their new 'Right to Provide' public services in new co-ops and social enterprises.

What I perhaps like most about this book (and there isn't a lot not to like) is the way Robert is helping turn social entrepreneurship from a hairshirt option for the extremely worthy to something we can all do. We can, he argues, make a very good living while also helping others and the environment. Social entrepreneurship for him is also about personal freedom and an overall balanced existence. We do not, he contends, have to make a straight choice between financial wealth and being poor-but-worthwhile. We can do both. This perhaps is the big take-away message here.

So why buy this book? You'll be charmed by it. You'll definitely enjoy it. You will definitely learn from it and find it useful (it is good for dipping into when you need something).

Craig Dearden-Phillips
Managing Director of Stepping Out Ltd
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not practical for the average person, 18 Mar. 2011
By 
White Eagle - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World (Paperback)
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I found this book is very nicely written & full of useful info.
I am thinking of starting my own business & when I came across this book I thought why not start a business which benefits society as a whole also & I thought this was an inspiring idea. However, I found it is more for someone who has some experience. It is not to mean it is written in a textbook style as quite the opposite is true. But I found the ideas & the practicality of applying them more for a more experienced person. It has a lot of reference to existing social entrepreneurs & I found this very interesting. It has a lot of exmaples.
I find this book is more about how to think like a social entrepreneur rather than how to actually start such a business.

The book has 5 parts with each having 3-4 chapters:
1.What (what is social entrepreneurship
2.Who (applying personalities & strengthening your talents & skills)
3.How to Start (some advice on starting a business plan & how to think it thru thoroughly & for example some useful advice on startng a charity)
4.How to Grow (selling & marketing)
5.How to Share (building rapport)

I think if you are already in a business & have some experience (even a little) then this book might be off help to you but as a newcomer, I personally found it not very helpful to me BUT it is an interesting read as it has a lot of ideas, stories of how other people have made it, some useful practical info.
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How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World
How to Be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money & Change the World by Robert Ashton (Paperback - 24 Nov. 2010)
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