Last week, I discussed whether the credit crunch would have an impact (positive or negative) on the world and field of social entrepreneurship. In a post before that, I’d asked if CSR would be the first thing to be cut in times of trouble….
And the analysis continues to flow: on the one hand, there are those who claim the credit crunch will encourage more social entrepreneurs to look at their financial viability first; on the other, reduced business spending on this sector is described as ‘inevitable’ by Business in the Community, whilst others point to the lack of available credit for any type of enterprise.
Is there a ‘perfect storm’ coming for social entrepreneurs where public sector spending will be cut (due to national debt, downturn in economy, new government) and private sector credit / sponsorship will be radically reduced, and trusts + foundations will give less because of the declining value of their endowments….oh, and the public will have less to spend on retail if that’s your model.
Or has the movement made enough traction in enough areas for the majority to make it through and access the funds and support they need? Will the persistent, committed, resourceful, innovative, dynamic social entrepreneurs survive and even thrive in the hard times? Possibly….and it is they who will benefit if (and when?) this holed tanker starts to turn round. It is the time for the hard-headed side of the social entrepreneur, not just the high-minded side.
Interestingly, as Servane from Ogunte points out in this comment, it may well be those who (contrary to efficient bottom lines) invest in leadership, in soft skills, networking and communication that do best. Never has there been a greater need to differentiate and communicate why it should be you / your organisation, and never a greater need for leadership, or strong relationships. Or, to continue the laboured ‘storm / tanker’ metaphor, for inspired captaincy on the bridge to hold it all together.