Like the autonomous entrepreneurs, this fifth type of entrepreneur wants to know that she has had an impact in the world. In her case, however, the impact specifically relates to the welfare of other people in her world. It is not specifically about the product or service being offered—it is about the way this product or service is of benefit to people she wishes to serve. In many cases, these people are found serving the poor, malnourished, oppressed, under-represented, disempowered and dispossessed in our world. They are living on stormy seas in seeking to serve these under-served populations, hence their sea anchor is likely to be tossed around quite a bit, and they must constantly seek clarity regarding their own life purposes and values.
In recent years, this fifth type of entrepreneurship has gained greater visibility and more credibility. These are no longer the men and women who are misguided visionaries and “do-gooders” wasting their entrepreneurial talents and energy on unrealistic and inevitably unsuccessful projects. These entrepreneurs are now often involved in thoughtful and strategically-based projects that focus on the creation of fully sustainable and vibrant communities. They have becoming increasingly of value in our society as we face the exceptional challenges of a fragile economy, often dysfunctional government and disrupted climate and physical environment. I am going to spend a bit of time describing this form of entrepreneurship because most coaches and leaders are not very knowledgeable about this domain and because it serves such a critical need in contemporary societies.
The key strategy for the service-oriented entrepreneur is building fully sustainable communities. This sustainability, in turn, resides in nurturing something called community capital – which consists of three elements: (a) natural capital (all the things that nature provides for us), (b) human and social capital (the people that make up a community) and (c) financial and built capital (the structures, manufactured goods, information resources and credit and debt in the community).
The second element, human and social capital, lies at the heart of service-oriented entrepreneurship. Human and social capital concerns the way people work together to solve problems or run the institutions that exist in a community. It involves volunteer efforts and the community’s governing structure. It involves the enhancement of skills, the provision of education and the provision of adequate health services to members of the community. Set in psychological terms, human capital is the recognition and full use of the human potential that exists in organizational settings. Set in sociological terms, social capital is the building of social cohesion and personal investment in a community.
How does a community build human and social capital (especially the latter)? This element of community capital is built through civic engagement; furthermore, it takes human and social capital in a community to build the foundation for effective civic engagement. Just as a building can’t be constructed without sufficient financial capital, so a civic engagement project can’t be mounted without the requisite skills, knowledge and motivation of men and women in the community who wish to become engaged. At the same time, it is through civic engagement that men and women build new skills and knowledge, and discover the skills, knowledge they already have – as well as discover and intensify their own motivation to “give back” to their community.Download Article 1K Club