Woman Outside with GoatsNot every business is in it for the money. There are those entrepreneurs who start a business to support or advocate a cause, commonly called social entrepreneurs. These are people like Jamie Oliver, world-renowned chef who opened a restaurant, Fifteen, to give disadvantaged youths the opportunity to train in a restaurant career, or Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley, founders of Kiva, the microlending site designed to help entrepreneurs in third world countries. By their nature, social entrepreneurs try to make the world a better place. They often have already had successful careers or run businesses and sold them, and now they’re trying to give back.

Are You a Social Entrepreneur?

If the idea of making a difference in the world or your community appeals to you, you just might fit the bill as a social entrepreneur. If you haven’t yet started a business, consider what you’re really passionate about. What would you do to instill change? What would the business platform look like? If you file your business as a nonprofit, you might be eligible for certain grants and funding, so that opens the door to a lot of if you choose to go down this path.

Connect with Others

If you’re interested in learning more about social entrepreneurship, connect with people who are already running social businesses. You can find them on directories like the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, or on social media channels like Twitter under these hashtags. There are conferences and meetups all over the country for this category as it burgeons.

And if you’re looking for funding, search for competitions like the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. You’ll compete with other social entrepreneurs for the best business idea, and get the chance to win tens of thousands of dollars as well as access to mentors who can help you really grow your company. Schwab also has a contest you can enter called the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Do Your Research

There are several blogs on the subject of social entrepreneurship, such as Social ROI and the 50 listed here. Read these to know what’s going on in the industry, as well as books like How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas and Mission, Inc.: The Practitioners Guide to Social Enterprise. Staying on top of what’s happening in this field can help you be a better social entrepreneur.

Social entrepreneurship is still a relatively new category, but it’s one that’s rapidly growing. Keep your mission at the heart of all you do, and you’ll have a successful social business!

If you’re ready to launch your social entrepreneurial endeavor, let CorpNet help you file your business structure. We’ve got the expertise to help you determine whether an LLC or corporation is the best fit for your company.