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The Mission Driven Venture: Key Points from an interesting book on Social Enterprises
21 Jul 2017 Post by:
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I have been reading "The Mission Driven Venture" by Marc J. Lane. The sub title is: "Business solutions to the world's most vexing social problems".  It provides an overview of many different topics relevant in the social enterprise sector including examples where new ways of doing things have been tried and been successful.  From my perspective as a lawyer it is interesting because the author is an attorney in the United States so there is often mention of legal structures.

The preface contains an overview of what comes as the author argues that new business strategies are solving social problems in education, health care, poverty and the environment. He writes: "For-profit, social purpose businesses are defining success in terms of both financial and social returns.  Nonprofits are becoming entrepreneurial, supplementing charitable donations and government grants with revenue earned by the businesses they own and run, instrumentalities of mission in their own right.  Progressive nonprofits are partnering with each other, and even with for-profits, breaking down cultural barriers, leveraging their competencies, and gaining economies of scale.  A growing number of passionate social entrepreneurs are deploying invested capital to test and develop business opportunities intended to drive positive social change."

He goes on to give the following specific examples: "Newly validated business models and entity forms that invite collaboration are emerging, including the low-profit limited liability company (L3C), which, by law, laces mission above profits and faciliteates foundation funding of chariatable and educational businesses, and the benefit corporation, which requires its managers to make decisions not only to enrich its shareholders, but also for the good of society as a whole. Social impact bonds - futures contracts on social impact - provide long term funds for promising social interventions, transfer risk to privacy capital markets, and tap into public coffers only when specific social benefits are achieved, Microfinance and microcredit are helping the poorest of the poor become self sufficient business owners. And worker owed co-operatives are converting the disenfranchised into self-reliant entrepreneurs"

Some of the most interesting examples I found in the book that were given were as follows:

To conclude this overview of the book I think it achieves the purpose the author set out in the preface - "...the Mission Driven Venture recounts the life stories of modern day heroes, people who, for very personal reasons, took on a social challenge as their own and vowed to overcome it through the prudent application of sound business principles. The lessons they learned and the successes they won translate into models worth replicating and adapting.  My hope is that their thought leadership will help inform your decisions and inspire your actions."

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a really good overview of the state of social enterprise around the world today and gain a glimpse into what the future might look like at the same time. If you are in Christchurch and would like to have a look at or borrow my copy send me an email at stevenmoe@parryfield.com


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