Social entrepreneurs Help with Social Business Issues

by: Nichole Gunn February 28, 2011

A new kid on the business block is the social entrepreneur. With businesses striving to curtail expenses, such as healthcare costs, they are looking toward the new business model that offers a light at the end of the tunnel.

As more and more social and environmental issues cause concern, social entrepreneurship tackles these issues through innovative ventures and startups. Dealing with social issues, the business model uses unique strategies and practices specific toward these endeavors, such as wellness programs to address the growing health concern.

One area of particular concern is obesity among children. This health issue can lead to a multitude of illnesses for the children and can continue on into adulthood causing even more health related problems and expenses.

Playworks’ Jill Vialet is a social entrepreneur who focuses on putting “coaches in urban elementary schools in the Oakland-San Francisco area who coordinate lunchtime and recess activities and re-introduce physical education into the classroom.” Her endeavor was so successful she received a multimillion-dollar grant to expand the company to three additional cities.

In an article at MinnPost.com, Vialet described her business model: “I have a cost-effective solution to the principals’ group management problem at lunch time and recess. She added, “The movement I’m building is about education reform. I have a business, and I’m also trying to build a movement.”

On advising others who are interested in this type of business model, Vialet recommends thinking like “businesspeople” throughout the endeavor, especially in regard to growth. She also suggests exuding confidence and “fake it till you make it.”


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.