The hare or the tortoise: Which does most good for society?

Different types of entrepreneurship: Watch the video
Different types of entrepreneurship: Watch the video

At last week’s CIBC Presents Entrepreneurship 101 lecture, we talked about the various types of businesses, including the important differences between social purpose ventures (based on achieving a defined social goal as well as making money) and traditional strictly for-profit businesses.

This begs an interesting question – which model ultimately can achieve the most good?

If we look at the bulk of charities around today, the names on them still reflect profits made a generation (at least) ago. The business people behind the businesses that made all the profits range from conventional highly focused and successful capitalists through to (lets be blunt) robber barons!

They share(d) a sequential model: make as much as you possibly can first, then decide how to distribute the profits to worthy causes. Contrast that to the rapidly emerging model of social entrepreneurship in which you make money and do good at the same time.

Does anyone out there want to hazard an opinion as to which can deliver the maximum good over the long haul?

Allyson’s Rebuttal

Allyson Hewitt, Director, Social Entrepreneurship

Yes Tony, in traditional philanthropy we have benefitted from the generosity of the Carnegies of the world and even at our own MaRS – a social enterprise if ever there was one – our college of founders are leaders in business with a dedication to make a difference.

But there is another way.  At SiG@MaRS we are inundated, particularly by young people, who no longer accept that this is the only way to do things or even the best way.  They want to make money and make a difference.  They realize that sustainability of people and the planet is their only choice.  They seek to embed a positive social and environmental impact into their work from the beginning and I for one, am interested in seeing them succeed.  Using the best minds available to address intractable social problems is not just a nice to do, given the challenges we face, it is a must do.

Downloads and Resources

Weren’t able to attend the class? Need some notes or want to look something up? Click below for all of the goodies from the lecture. Watch the video and the slide presentation below.

CIBC presents Entrepreneurship 101 2009/10 – Week 3 – Different Types of Entrepreneurship from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.

Business development and entrepreneurship basics from MaRS Discovery District