Looking for a better way

Every day SEF works with entrepreneurs—non-profits, for-profits, cooperatives – determined to find a better way to do things, to create a sustainable economy leading to a more inclusive community that works for everybody. Some people call what we do ‘innovative’.

Innovation can be an interesting word. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as ‘the introduction of something new’, but then goes on to point out that it can simply be ‘anything new that you do.’

Social entrepreneurship challenges old think, and accepted norms. It puts business tools and best practices into the hands of the non-profit sector, and says, ‘don’t be afraid to use these tools to make your work in community even better.’ And it challenges for-profit business to examine everything it does from a lens of social and community responsibility, in addition to responsibility to shareholders. In other words, overturning the accepted rules of engagement, and trying something new. Something that may not really be so new at all in the bigger picture, just new to you, and how you work.

A year ago, I accepted an appointment to the federal government’s new Social Innovation Advisory Council. We have been asked to provide strategic advice to government in its goal to advance the use of social innovation and social finance, and to support the growth of those organizations who have (or might) take on the challenge of social entrepreneurship. The work is interesting and challenging, but I can’t think of a better way to remember why I am doing it than the example of social entrepreneurs like SEF’s clients putting something ‘new’ into action every day.

-Jane Bisbee
May 2024