Sociopreneurs want to make money and make a difference. Find out more about a growing trend.
A growing number of sociopreneurs, led by the likes of billionaire Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, want to make the world a better place through their business endeavors.
“There are names for this new approach to business – from Capitalism 2.0 to philanthrocapitalism,” writes Branson in his new book Screw Business as Usual. At Virgin Unite, founded in 2004 to serve as the philanthropic arm of Branson’s global corporation, they have a special name for sociopreneurship. It’s “Capitalism 24902” - a reference to the miles spanning the earth’s circumference.
Sociopreneurship creates a win-win situation for entrepreneurs, their clients and the world at large, said Branson. “I have come to realize that this effort is actually good for business,” he writes. “It makes people and businesses better off. The good news is, businesses that are taking this path are also starting to see the rewards.” According to Branson, socially responsible businesses outperformed their peers on the FTSE 350 exchange in seven of the last eight years.
The trend may also be influencing affluent investors surveyed in Millionaire Corner’s ongoing studies of the attitudes and behaviors of wealthy Americans. More than 40 percent of individuals with $5 million to $25 million in investable assets – a demographic comprised largely of doctors, lawyers, managers, senior corporate executives and entrepreneurs – identified using their wealth to help others as a key financial concern, according to our 2011 survey. The share is up slightly from 38 percent in 2010.
Sociopreneurs are awakened leaders who think “win-win-win,” said Joan Marques, a contributor to the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs or NACME: “Their efforts are not borne from the will to make money, but to make a positive difference and then hopefully make money, too.”
An entrepreneur who is a philanthropist writes a check for a social cause, said Marques. “While making donations to social causes is praiseworthy and should be continued, the difference between donating to a social cause and being a sociopreneur is that the entire livelihood of the sociopreneur is based on a social cause.”
Sociopreneurship is like a battery that recharges itself, according to the website Sociopreneur.com, which explains, “More and more there are people who are making money so that they can help more people. This might seem like something a lot of companies do, but for sociopreneurs, it’s not an afterthought. In fact, for them, it’s an integral part of their business.”
A well known sociopreneur, Muhammad Yunus, founded a bank in Bangladesh to provide small loans to fledgling entrepreneurs ignored by conventional banks. The effort earned Yunus a 98 percent return on microloans and the 2006 Noble Peace Prize – the first ever awarded to a businessman.