Posts Tagged ‘Beverly Schwartz’

United Nations adopts resolution in support of social entrepreneurship

Break out the bubbly in every country, in any language. Here comes a New Year’s Resolution that will resonate with all CausePlanet readers. We can collectively raise our glasses and toast! By a vote of 129 to 31, The United Nations just adopted (Dec.7) a resolution on “Entrepreneurship for Development” that will encourage all member states to increase support for entrepreneurial endeavors by reducing financial, policy and regulatory barriers that inhibit the growth of small and mid-size businesses worldwide. For entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs everywhere, this is great news.

The resolution recognizes what many of us live and breathe every day: the important contribution entrepreneurship can make toward sustainable development by creating jobs and driving economic growth and innovation, while in many ways, it improves social conditions and confronts environmental challenges. Importantly, it stresses the positive role entrepreneurship plays in driving job creation and expanding opportunities for all, including for women and youth. Sensibly, it urges a coordinated and integrated approach, involving all stakeholders, including civil society, academia and the private sector, while recognizing the importance of partnerships with the private sector. Entrepreneurship was acknowledged to play an important role in generating employment and investment; developing new technologies and innovative business models; and enabling high, sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth. Ultimately, it was recognized that non-governmental stakeholders (like us!) are the main drivers of entrepreneurship.

My perspective on the resolution—social entrepreneurship

I was invited to address the merits of the resolution from a social entrepreneurial perspective. I chose to illustrate the need for support, nurturing and empowerment of the social side of the equation by explaining (and showing a video of) the work of Albina Ruiz. Albina is a Peruvian who built a community-based solid waste management system that plays an increasingly important role in improving sanitation and health conditions in Peru and other countries in Latin America. I specifically chose Albina’s story because every stage of the waste management cycle has created a network of employment and income-generating enterprises that integrates business and social value throughout the entire process, exactly what I thought the resolution’s intent should address. I was very familiar with her story because I included her story in a chapter in my book, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Around the World (Wiley, April 2012).

Near and dear to my heart, the resolution also focuses on the value of teaching entrepreneurial skills at all levels of education, ensuring the full and equal participation of women and girls, and encourages entrepreneurship education through skills development, capacity building, training programs and business incubators. It goes one step further and acknowledges the role of entrepreneurship in enabling youth to turn their creativity, energy and ideas into business opportunities that help facilitate their entry into the labor market.

Now that’s a resolution that really rings in the New Year!

For additional information about the resolution and what it hopes to accomplish, read my article that appeared in the Opinion section of on December 6.

See also:

Page to Practice book summary of Rippling

Up and Out of Poverty: The Social Marketing Solution


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Using market forces to create social value

This week I wanted to share one of the many compelling stories from Beverly Schwartz’s “Rippling,” featuring a “changemaker” who uses market forces to create social value. “Far different from corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, these partnerships create a hybrid adaptation that establishes a profitable business for the sole purpose of supporting, fueling growth, and sustaining a social purpose,” says Schwartz.

Profit isn’t a dirty word
Schwartz adds  “profit is not a dirty word—if profits are recycled back into the business or used to sustain or increase employment or wages and provide access to opportunities for those who are marginalized, impoverished, or in temporary need.” The following is one of the social entrepreneurs who illustrate how to use market forces to create a ripple effect in her community’s pond.

Finding opportunities within the problem
Albina Ruiz is building a community-based solid waste management system that plays an important role in improving sanitation and health conditions in Peru and other countries in Latin America. Whenever children learn more about cleanliness it is always positive. Every stage of the waste management cycle creates employment and income, integrating business and social value throughout the entire process. Ruiz admits she was obsessed with the trash that seemed to overwhelm Lima. Heaps of trash were everywhere in the city streets, rivers and vacant lots.

Trash equals jobs
Albina realized the garbage represented people. For every piece of trash discarded there was a person behind it and in front of it. Where everyone, including the union, saw trash, she saw an opportunity to create jobs, improve public health and improve the environment.

• Albina designed a new type of small tricycle truck that could fit in the narrow, hilly streets and around the garbage blocking the roads.

• She enlisted households within the slums to become paid recyclers who would sort the organics for animals as well as recyclables like bottles, iron scraps, paper, plastic and anything else they could reuse.

• She formed an association of these local changemakers who would partner with the tricycle trash collectors and coincide with the public campaign that encouraged residents to wait for these small trucks to pick up their trash rather than throw it in the streets. Incredible and obvious ripple effects result from Albina’s efforts.

Furthermore, some of her recyclers now make handcrafted products from the recycled items and sell them to high-end stores. “Albina’s primary tool is employment, and she uses it by organizing the recylcers into income-generating micro-enterprises, a strategy built into every state of the waste management cycle,” says Schwartz.

If you’d like to learn more about other social entrepreneurs and how they developed a sustainable business model, join us on July 11 at 11 a.m. CST for our monthly author interview. Visit to register.

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You have the power to be a changemaker

Though your tax status may read “not-for-profit,” you’re running a business where the community must profit in social ways. The product you’re selling is change. But how much social change are you really creating? Our rapidly changing world has experienced progress economically, politically and socially. However, author Beverly Schwartz argues while progress mitigates some problems, it exacerbates others. Our planet requires more sophisticated solutions that are produced by effective organizations in the social sector.

Your business models must be relevant and every program clearly connected to outcomes that matter. Whether you are part of a large nonprofit or small one-person agency, you have the power to be a changemaker. Just take a look at the world’s small but mighty examples in Schwartz’s book, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World.

The five sections in Schwartz’s book represent the five ripples in the pond of poverty, inequity and inadequate access to opportunity. The changing system, inspiration, innovation, and local and global impact converge to create what Schwartz calls virtuous cycles of social benefit that begin when people themselves become agents of change. These change agents influence others to do the same. “They set off perpetuating waves of motion that convey transformation both vertically and horizontally now and into the future,” says Schwartz.

Schwartz found all the social entrepreneurs she interviewed for her book possess four inherent qualities: purpose, passion, pattern and participation.

Purpose: These individuals put society above personal interests and firmly focus on fulfillment of their chosen role. They may take many roads to get there but the goal is sacrosanct.

Passion: Schwartz finds passion and purpose are inextricably linked together. Passion connects to the spirit and relates to strength of character, determination and connection to others. She further adds real strength lies not in the physical realm but in an indomitable spirit.

Pattern: These entrepreneurs’ patterns become models or guides for others to follow. Their patterns differ greatly, which affirms their individuality or the nature of an entrepreneur. Schwartz likes to say these people “build a better mousetrap” while at the same time eradicating the need for traps altogether by decreasing the population of mice.

Participation: Changemakers are often unanticipated leaders, says Schwartz. Whether they perceive themselves to be leaders or not, their ability to influence people and have them believe, follow and join is an attribute that is completely natural and a necessary component for impact. It is the quality that attracts involvement and eventually morphs into civic engagement.

Gather inspiration from this list and look around your organization. Do you have a changemaker in your midst who’s ready to take the next step? How can you build on their qualities and spread the spirit of innovation?

See also:

Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World
The Search for Social Entrepreneurship
Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World
Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World

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What qualities do leading changemakers possess?

If your nonprofit business model is unsustainable, outdated or simply not making the difference you projected, gather inspiration and ideas from this author’s numerous examples gleaned from all over the world.

Find out why they all point to five consistent principles:

restructure industry norms
change market dynamics
use market forces to create social value
advance full citizenship
cultivate empathy

Beverly Schwartz’s new book, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World, reads like a compelling story in each chapter while arming you with a roadmap for creating your own path to systemic change. Few books motivate you to step back and rethink your business model. Schwartz’s featured “changemakers” embody a new call to action: think differently and act accordingly.

I asked Schwartz about the qualities of these social entrepreneurs and here’s what she said in an excerpt of our interview:

CausePlanet: It’s remarkable how many of the social entrepreneurs possess little or no expertise in areas we as nonprofit leaders would deem essential. Instead, they demonstrate an even more critical set of skills, such as the inability to accept things the way they are or a predisposition for reframing old thinking or defying convention. What have you found to be the most consistent among these vital traits in changemakers?

Schwartz: Hands down, it is the ability of social entrepreneurs to have faith in themselves and to always see problems in terms of creative and new solutions. They recognize a problem and understand its nuances intimately, but don’t get caught in its intricacies. They are laser focused on not only working with, but being a part of the community they are serving, and persistence (with a dash or two of stubbornness) can always be found in abundance.

CausePlanet subscribers: Register for our author interview with Schwartz on July 11 at 11 a.m. CST.

See also:

The Search for Social Entrepreneurship

Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World

The Search for Social Entrepreneurship



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