What is the difference between entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, and what model are we using for the CJP/PresenTense Boston Social Entrepreneur Fellowship?

Most people agree that a successful social venture requires many of the same skill sets and models as successful non-social ventures.  For example, Richard Dale of Sigma Ventures led a skillbuilding session for the Boston fellows on Budgeting for Social Ventures, and emphasized the importance of financial planning.  He showed the fellows how budgets for non-profits and social ventures are often more complex than those of for-profit ventures because of the double bottom line: organizations need to measure both financial and social returns.  He references Jim Collins‘ Monograph, “Good to Great and the Social Sectors,” who tackles the issue of how to measure impact and success for non-financial goals.  Richard explained how budgets for social ventures (and all ventures) must be strategic: the fellows’ budgets must reflect decisions or plans for how to apply resources to objectives.  Here we see that social ventures actually need strong business models more than for-profit ventures do, since there are multiple objectives.

Unfortunately, social ventures, especially non-profits, often get a bad rap for holding themselves to less-than-perfect business standards.  Non-profits stereotypically have poor management, fuzzy financial planning, and lousy project management.  But we know that in order for social ventures to be successful both financially and socially, they need to have extra solid management, financial planning, and project management.  A social entrepreneur must have business training that is just as strong as any other entrepreneur.

The CJP/PresenTense Boston Social Entrepreneur Fellowship prides itself on basing its curriculum around core business training that is relevant to starting any kind of new venture.  We have chosen mentors and skillbuilders from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors with the understanding that the practices of the for-profit world are extremely relevant to our fellows who are starting social ventures to make change in the Jewish world.  Our social entrepreneurs are also regular entrepreneurs. 

Therefore, I would like to propose that we consider re-naming the PresenTense-style of social entrepreneurship to JEWISH ENTREPRENEURSHIP.  Together we are making change in the Jewish world, using sound business training and learning from entrepreneurs and innovators in all fields.

If you have any thoughts on this, please leave a comment or email me at elanab@cjp.org.