Social Entrepreneurship is wrongly referred to as a new movement. It’s not. The term itself rises anew within recent years, but the practice dates back before the founding of America. In fact, much of our common systems are built on its principles.
The Back story
One day while re-reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (one of my favorite books), I came across a paragraph that caught my attention. Franklin, when talking about influential books in his younger years, talks of a book called Essays to Do Good by a Dr. Cotton Mathers. Of it he remarks that the book, “gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence on some of the principle future events of my life.”
Later in his life while in correspondence with Dr. Mathers son, Franklin pens these words in a letter:
When I was a boy, I met with a book entitled Essays to Do Good, which I think was written by your father.
It gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my conduct through life, for I have always set a greater value on this character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantages of it to that book.”
Franklins Contributions to the World
Let us contemplate that a moment. Franklin was a man who had a significant impact in the creation of America. He was also a phenomenal business man that produced tremendous acts of philanthropy. He published Poor Richard’s Almanac to help people in many areas of life, helped launch projects to pave, clean, and light Philadelphia’s streets. He helped launch the first library (the nations first subscription library), then helped launch Americas first philosophical society that started from a club called the Junto, which met to talk on issues of the day. Franklin also gathered a group to help overcome the cities sick and from that launched the first hospital.
Many of these are still in operation today: The library company, the philosophical society, and the Pennsylvania hospital.
Additionally, seeing that fires were a constant threat he helped organize Philadelphia fire union company (the first in the city). Soon after he saw the people who suffered economic loss from fires so Franklin helped found the Philadelphia Contribution for Insurance, this also is still in existence today. That is an incredible legacy. And these efforts don’t include his scientific and political achievements, or that of running a successful printing company.
Franklin was Driven By Purpose
Just think about those societal contributions through business acumen that Franklin accomplished that were so far ahead of his time. He wasn’t driven by what everyone else was doing.
He was driven to solve problems with sustainable scalable organizations. He was a social entrepreneur.
And today I am calling each one of you to that purpose. You too should be driven to DO GOOD works. That whether you are an employee, small business owner, pastor, teacher, missionary, CEO, online blogger, stay at home mom, or whatever else you are, you’re created to do good: that is your purpose.
Now turn that purpose of doing good into a sustainable scalable business model. Let’s revive social entrepreneurship.
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