1. Social Entrepreneurship will become mainstream
Over the last five years there has been a social entrepreneurship explosion. It’s become a hot buzzword. It’s trendy and everyone wants to be one; universities all over the world now have social entrepreneurship programs. I still remember the first time I heard the term. It was 2008, I was living in DC and struck up a conversation with a young man who worked for Ashoka. I remember listening to the idea of changemakers, and thinking that it sounded cool, in theory – but that it’d never really create lasting change on a larger and deeper scale beyond that individual’s sphere of influence. Basically, a one-off idea that would never really take in the development world. Whoops. Social entrepreneurs are here and here to stay in a big way. The ripples it has created has begun to push the boundaries of how international development is looked at and done. This will only continue, and more and more synergies will emerge between more traditional aid workers and social entrepreneurs.
2. Continued confusion about who social entrepreneurs are and what they do
The flip side of becoming more mainstream will be the continued or even increased confusion about social entrepreneurs, social businesses, and the forever emerging “fourth sector.”
3. Traditional development players will be increasing open to the idea of social entrepreneurs, but will continue to be wary
Despite having the same goal of making positive societal change, more traditional development organizations will continue to look at social entrepreneurs’ efforts with a bit of wariness for using for-profit models. Social entrepreneurs are willing to take risks with their approach, change tactics to figure out what works best and most efficiently, and make those adjustments quickly. That can be frustrating and frightening to organizations that have been invested in people and sectors for decades. Change is hard and it can take a while to adjust to new ideas and ways of doing things. There will be less resistance as we continue to learn how to share the same space, exchange ideas and work together – but there’s still going to be some stink-eye.
4. Crowdfunding will come into its own
Crowdfunding, basically groups of people that come together to fund a project or an idea, really took off in 2012 with the JOBS Act. The vast majority of crowdfunding platforms are websites – Kickstarter is probably the most well-known site, along with others like Indiegogo, and Rock The Post. You can go it alone as well – support your favorite Canadian athlete through Pursuit or fund surgeries for specific patients suffering from fistula, burn contracture or cleft/lip palate through Samahope. Predictions about how much money crowdfunding could yield for social entrepreneurs in 2013 varies, but Devin Thorpe’s prediction that “crowdfunding for social ventures and nonprofits will exceed $1 billion, representing about 20% of all crowdfunding” seems to be among the more reasonable. Now, this doesn’t mean that crowdfunding is going to the answer to fundraising prayers. Projects won’t magically get funded. It may seem easier than seeking out VCs or government grants, but it’ll still take work – positioning and marketing – and is unlikely to entirely fund larger projects ($1M+). It does however give everyone a chance to try and get their creative ideas off the ground. Crownfunding will also get more regulated this year with the SEC determining and putting in place more regulations, including rules that should help reduce the risk of fraud.
Happy New Year everyone – it’s going to be an exciting year!
(Photo Credit: momentcaptured1)