By Eduardo Balarezo
Capitalism has its shortcomings and in recent times, we’ve felt them dearly. And as clearly demonstrated by Occupy Wall Street, people are not happy. According to a recent survey Young America: Economic Barriers to the American Dream, the vision of prosperity for all – simply isn’t happening. There is extreme prosperity for few and little to none for many. But thanks to social entrepreneurship, there is a new form of capitalism on the rise – one we can all be proud of – human capitalism.
We are starting to see a trend of socially conscious leaders who are standing up against the norm and taking their cues not from the founding fathers’ outdated concept of prosperity, but from a simple idea found in nature. It is not the strongest or the most intelligent that will survive, but those who adapt to meet the challenges arising in their own backyard. Adapting to the changing environment is the key to sustainable growth and social entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the movement.
At Lonesome George & Co. we understand that social entrepreneurs are the people that will shape our world. We share their passions. Our Mind.Shift.Impact business model embraces the fact that social enterprises can truly influence the world, picking up where the system leaves off.
For example, every day more money is yanked from traditional education which supports students’ opportunity to achieve the American Dream. These continuous blows on an already antiquated system may begin creating leaders who are ill equipped for today’s flat world. This is a prime example of where the social enterprise can pick up some of the system’s slack. By creating for-profit business models based on supporting innovative individuals, many social enterprises are giving the next generation the tools to re-write their own rules. And as seen from the current economic and social climate, the ones in place don’t seem to be working anymore.
You see, today’s graduate works well within the preconceived system, but when the system is not functioning, the average student cannot operate. The time has come where the capitalist system is shutting down and the world is demanding a different type of leadership, one built on compassion, respect, innovation and imagination.
With the help of social enterprises that invest in experiential education such as Outward Bound and Ashoka, new leaders are given the opportunity to unplug from an education entirely based on traditional concepts and tap into different ideas. These budding social entrepreneurs are breaking out of the mold, bringing new ideas to fix old issues and creating a whole new definition of prosperity in the process. Prosperity based not only on financial gain but on environmental, social and community benefits as well.
While there has been much advancement in higher education with the introduction of social business programs, one thing being overlooked is that social entrepreneurship happens in the trenches. It is very tough to teach social entrepreneurship in a static classroom; it is best learned in extreme situations. At Lonesome George & Co., it is our mission to invest in the human capital of aspiring social entrepreneurs, helping to refocus them into new ways of thinking to become the types of leaders the changing world demands. Experiential learning programs such as Outward Bound and Ashoka, take them outside their comfort zone, inspiring them to break away from conditioned behavior and tap into unrealized potential.
We know from history that sometimes it takes a radical devastation to shine light onto big issues. We are there right now. Social entrepreneurs hold the key of innovation to create a new world built on human capitalism. As these new leaders equipped with the ability to adapt reach the helm of corporations they have built on shared value, we will in fact find prosperity for all – The New American Dream.
Eduardo Balarezo is the Founder and CEO of Lonesome George & Co. A former CEO and financier of a global conglomerate, Eduardo became a social entrepreneur in 2006 when he used his strong business savvy to create Lonesome George & Co., a social organization designed to inspire Agents of Change to bring change to the world through the choices they make. For more information on Lonesome George & Co., please visit www.lonesomegeorge.net