Women Entrepreneurs Think of Social Gains
A WOMEN’S social entrepreneur network is expanding in Southeast Asia as delegates come together to share their experiences working in industry, discussing the challenges they face both as entrepreneurs and as women.
Social entrepreneurs, we should note, take into account not only profit and return but |positive returns to society.
The Asian Women Social Entrepreneurs Seminar hosted last week by the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women (APSW) aimed to create a larger network for growing social entrepreneurs to change issues such as health, education, and services.
Delegates from five Mekong countries - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - presented case studies about the overall “ecosystem” in their countries as well as challenges they faced.
Let Market Forces Decide Fate of Social Enterprises
SOCIAL enterprises are hybrids that combine the capitalist nature of business and the do-good nature of community organisations (“Treat social enterprises as normal companies” by Mr Lim Wei Kwang; last Monday and “Require social enterprises to be governed by law” by Mr John Tan Yew How; last Friday).
Social entrepreneurs step into the market when they notice a gap to be filled while also incorporating elements to benefit the vulnerable in our society.
A sound business model is still crucial for survival; promoting one’s business as a social enterprise should take a back seat.
Social Purpose Corporation Act Clears the Way for Good Corporate Citizens
Many States are taking legal steps so that corporations can, should they choose to do so, become better corporate citizens. The Washington Social Purpose Corporations Act explicitly allows a company, when organized as a social purpose corporation, to place other concerns (such as environmental responsibility) equal to or ahead of profit for the shareholders. Let’s talk briefly about some history and what the Act intends to do and why.
Milton Friedman, the 1976 Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences, is famously quoted as saying that the sole social responsibility of business is to “engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” This theory is the default rule for corporations, and is generally known as The Friedman Doctrine or the Stockholder Theory. His assertions are founded on the writings of Adam Smith (1723-1790), and to further complicate matters, the Michigan Supreme Court adopted the default rule in the early 20th Century decision of Dodge v. Ford Motor Company.
A Benefit Corporation Steps Up to Purchase a Chicago Hospital
Community First Healthcare of Illinois (“Community First”), an Illinois benefit corporation, recently announced plans to purchase Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center (formerly Northwest Hospital) in Chicago from Presence Health. It is encouraging to see the benefit corporation structure used for a hospital. Advantages of doing this were discussed in my article published last summer in Bloomberg BNA Health Insurance Report. The benefit corporation structure is a “natural” for a hospital providing community health care. In fact, authorizing statutes typically include a public benefit purpose of this nature. Illinois’ statute, for example, speaks in terms of “improving public health.”
Grassroots Movements Are Powerful Tools for Social Change
Permanent, positive cultural change, as in the case of tobacco control, is the gold standard for progress in public health. In a 2012 article in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Mowery et al. reported on the impacts of state preemption of local smoke-free laws. While Mowery’s study adds to the evidence that preemption can have a number of negative consequences, perhaps its most important finding concerns social norms change. The authors found that state preemption can interfere with the positive social norms change associated with the consideration and passage of local ordinances because preemption may deny residents opportunities experienced during “the discussion, adoption, and implementation of smoke-free ordinances, and to undergo the resulting shifts in social norms.”