Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
Simple, practical, inspiring
on 18 February 2011
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.