Right here, right now, this is what I believe.
Current efforts tackling our most pressing, global socio-economic needs — including the United Nations Millennium Development Goals — are falling short, way short. I’m convinced that addressing these daunting challenges will require a dynamic new way of doing business instead of going at it as business as usual. I also believe that every “no” and every challenge is a disguised opportunity for a positive change. Having said that, I believe that Constructive Entrepreneurship is a new, profit-making strategy that can end poverty, help the environment, and save our magnificent planet. Finally, young people are an underutilized resource. And as young creative entrepreneurs, you and I are the catalysts to the necessary change and renewal that we need. . .right now!
So how did we get here? A major driving force in humanity’s advance has been entrepreneurial behavior. Currently, two major types of entrepreneurial activities support the economic marketplace, with both commercial and social entrepreneurial activities successfully serving their purposes. Profit is the beating heart of the commercial entrepreneurial sector, and has also been a great driver of innovation, competition, production, and human progress. On the other hand, a strong social sector, including schools, museums and hospitals, enriches and elevates our communities.
However, both types are inherently flawed.
The classic capitalistic approach has not proven to be sustainable outside of short-term profit making success. From U.S. automakers to the financial giants, corporations have exclusively gone after profits even at a cost of defrauding their customer base or with minimal thought about its impact on the consumer. And as for wishing that all our economic problems can be resolved by the marketplace, as a New York friend says, Fuggedaboutit!
And, on the social sector side, global efforts and a trillion U.S. Dollars spent in the past 60 years have not been very effective in fostering development, eradicating poverty, and reaching environmental sustainability. As I know from my ongoing Athgo experience, this sector relies extensively on third party funding, so we spend 70 percent of our time chasing financing!
The cold hard truth is that the traditional ways of doing business and the existing channels dealing with development and with poverty have left us where we are today! Additionally, as you read this Blog on your BlackBerry or IPad, technological advancements today have shrunk the world to bandwidths, creating a close interconnectedness but also making us all the more vulnerable to systemic jolts. In effect, a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing, and the stock market flounders on Wall Street.
So the time has come to act and to reverse the damage caused by ineffective approaches.
Athgo offers another approach, a Third Way to business development and human progress. We promote a hybrid form of entrepreneurship, which incorporates elements from the capitalistic and social entrepreneurship models, yet differs in its core mission. This hybrid system ensures development of profitable enterprises that display positive communal and environmental impacts. Look at my friends at Electronic Recyclers International. ERI is America’s largest electronics recycler, specializing in the environmentally safe and socially responsible dismantling of electronic waste. ERI also hires employees with prison records, giving people a second chance.
So the time has come, right here, right now for Constructive Entrepreneurship.
In the upcoming weeks, this Blog will define the key elements of a Constructive Enterprise and show how young people, you and I, can be galvanized by this dynamic new approach and write the prescription for global progress!