By Editor of SocialBusiness.org
Image via BBC’s coverage of the US presidential debate, published October 4, 2012
If your Twitter feed is anything like my Twitter feed, United States debate nights can sometimes feel like the busiest (and buzziest) time of all. Of course, the great thing about Twitter is that you can edit who or what news source you want to garner information from. Everyone from Lindsay Lohan to Chris Rock parodies to Guardian journalists and my local Toronto weekly weighed in on tonight’s election. I’m sure, if you follow writers and journalists and, well, perhaps anyone with an opinion and an affinity for live-Tweeting, you got your dose of the 2012 U.S. elections, that is, unless you steered way clear of the Internet in general. (Smart cookie.) What is the role of and for social entrepreneurship in the realm of politics? In June, in the wake of the Greek election, Jon Henley of The Guardian wrote about how “social enterprise is one answer to economic strife” when it comes to the so-called Greek crisis. “[I]t is simplistic – not to say untrue – that there is ‘no sense of community’ in Greece,” Henley illuminated. “It is just that it rather got forgotten. Projects like these fit Greece’s current needs, and its mood.” What fits the global mood? Or perhaps more importantly, the global need? Certainly, the way in which global politics are shaped by U.S. imperialism means that the debates, even though they may not mention social entrepreneurship and its impact, matter. Of course. Entrepreneurship and small business has, for decades, been an important source of rhetoric in U.S. politics because of is alignment with self-help, work ethic and, of course, the American Dream at large. JJ Ramberg, the host of msnbc’s Your Business, said this in Forbes earlier in October:
Small businesses (especially new small businesses) are a strong driver of job growth in this country and right now there is a tremendous amount of attention paid to entrepreneurs. In the first presidential debate, the candidates said the words “small business” more than 25 times. Many of the big issues such as taxes and healthcare have also been framed around how they affect small businesses.
The question is: how do we get social entrepreneurship to be part of the conversation? And how should it be framed differently than the tune of small business?