These previous years have been marked by unprecedented progress in the field of social entrepreneurship and amplified attention ranging throughout all the diverse sectors.

Social entrepreneurs across the world have been unique catalysts for change; improvising systems, devising new approaches, grasping opportunities others miss and generating solutions to change society for the better. The interest in social entrepreneurship surpasses the phenomenon of popularity and profit maximization. Social entrepreneurship steers the essence to drive social change and it is that potential payoff with its lasting, transformational benefit to society that puts the field and its practitioners apart.

Here are five of the many contributions of social entrepreneurship to sustainable development.

The innovation of new goods, services, and business models

Social enterprises are exceptional in their capacity to identify key market failures that are holding society back and develop tailor-made solutions to tackle them.

The issues addressed by these innovations are some of the world’s biggest societal problems such as mental health, illiteracy and education, health care access and many more.

Job and Employment creation

One of the major economic values of social entrepreneurship is creating employment. As one of the major global concerns, unemployment is an issue that many social enterprises are trying to tackle. Unemployment is a multi-faceted problem that requires tailor-made solutions, social enterprises provide employment opportunities and job training to segments of society at an employment disadvantage (long-term unemployed, disabled, homeless, at-risk youth and gender-discriminated women).

Environment Preservation

As the world faces unparalleled cases of climate change and environmental degradation that threaten our world’s entire ecosystem, dedicated social entrepreneurs have made it their life’s mission to turn the tide. From revolutionary solar system schemes to eco – friendly packaging on products, everything is being done to reduce our individual carbon footprint on the earth.

 

Poverty alleviation

Social enterprises start out with the aim to address an already existing issue and poverty is one that plagues many parts of the world. Poverty is rampant in parts of the world where access to education is an issue, rife with political conflicts, inadequate access to clean water and food, a structural inequality that puts a percentage of the population at a disadvantage and this is to name a few of the factors. Social innovators that come up with solutions that can address any number of these challenges contribute to poverty alleviation across the world.

Addressing food security and malnutrition

Food security is becoming a critical concern across the globe as more and more reports confirm the urgency of updating our food systems taking into consideration climate change, world population growth, and many other key factors. A notable example of enterprises rising up to face this challenge is Africa Improved Foods which leverages top-notch technology to produce high quality fortified nutritious foods from grains sourced from smallholder farmers.

Social enterprises are a positive force and change agents that develop cutting-edge innovations for unmet social needs. Challenges in this field need to be identified with forthright discussions and evaluations undertaken to provide what is needed to support significant scaling, continued innovation and impact around the world.