Every entrepreneur is juggling a wide array of responsibilities that range from day-to-day operations to big picture visions. Often, as it already seems too much, the idea of adding another element can appear more than just overwhelming — particularly when that other element is “helping to reduce global poverty.”
However, entrepreneurship is the ultimate generator of growth and social transformation and can quite seamlessly be a key factor of your company.
If you are ready to add a more giving element to your firm, read on to learn how you can use entrepreneurship to drive poverty reduction.
1. Recognize the power of entrepreneurship to reduce poverty.
There is no denying that there is nothing more capable of generating economic growth, creating jobs, and reconstructing society than entrepreneurship.
However, entrepreneurship doesn’t just stand on its own. A combination of law and order, efficient judicial systems, property rights, low taxation, and comprehensive education are all needed to make a genuine difference.
The Legatum Center at MIT’s mission is to investigate and demonstrate the positive impacts that entrepreneurs can have on the global economy and local society. Their research shows that entrepreneurship is a crucial player in the fight to terminate global poverty by shifting the need for dependency with a cycle of self-sufficiency and trade.
At its very core, entrepreneurship needs to help those living in poverty learn how to become entrepreneurs themselves. This is because it is only through having their own business that those in poverty will be in a position to produce a long-lasting solution to their situation.
2. Research the options.
For entrepreneurs who want to use their business acumen to reduce poverty, there are plenty of options. Not all will be right for every firm or product, but there is undoubtedly an option for everyone. Even the smallest of businesses can take a few steps to help make a difference.
One of the easiest ways to help alleviate poverty and share prosperity is through charity work — something that all businesses can get involved in no matter their size. Perhaps you start by having a drive to raise money for a specific charity that provides food and clothes to the poor.
You may want to commit to one organization for an entire year and have a variety of events and fundraisers that seek to bring greater awareness and much-needed cash. Joining forces with other local businesses is a great way to pool resources and get involved with your local community.
Generally, the best charities to support are those that provide education, micro-loans, training workshops, and infrastructure building.
For larger businesses, setting up your own organization or foundation is a viable option. Running establishments such as orphanages, charitable hospitals, or schools for the poor can make a significant difference in the lives of those who are living in poverty and can bring great respect for your firm. By opting to set up a foundation, you can redirect a portion of your profits towards community development that is utilized to abolish poverty through social work.
It is important to note that these organizations and foundations don’t need to be set up on the other side of the world. Every city and town has people in need, and you can commit to helping those who are right on your doorstep.
Last but not least, as a business owner, you have control over whom you employ, so why not extend some of those opportunities to those who are struggling? There is nothing more important than helping those who are living below the poverty line to gain the skills and experiences necessary to improve their lives. Employment opportunities and training programs give them the chance to support themselves and to work to move out of poverty.
This is one of the most significant ways to start investing in entrepreneurship as small businesses are necessary for resilient, self-sufficient economies. While charity is essential in assisting people in making it up one step of the ladder, they will need the knowledge and know-how to maintain their own enterprise to keep climbing.
3. Align your company’s values.
Armed with the knowledge of how entrepreneurship can make a positive impact and ways in which you can take part, it is then time to align your company’s values. Your firm should thoroughly believe that your commitments extend far beyond merely running your day-to-day business (although that is obviously a significant amount of work) and should also be mindful of your social obligations.
If you want to align your company’s values but aren’t in a position to take on significant new projects, directly speak with your financial advisor and ask about ways in which you can invest in “impact finance” that encourages global social enterprises.
Poverty is a problem for us all, as it has consequences and implications for everyone involved in our open and interdependent world — and that certainly includes you and your business.
Is your business doing anything to help reduce poverty? What initiatives are you considering introducing in the future? What challenges do you foresee getting in your way? To facilitate valuable discussion, let us know your thoughts and concerns in the comments below.