(this post was 1st published on the Rural Presence Blog)
This 1.5 hour 2017 video from the London School of Economics’ Marshall Institute, (“We do research and teaching in the field of private action for public benefit”), is on the subject of social entrepreneurs.
It describes them as people who identify a pressing injustice or market failure AND have an idea of how to use others’ resources to address it.
The video has three parts – a general introduction to the theme of social entrepreneurs, a specific example on a sustainable fisheries not for profit organisation, and then a Q&A session at the end.
There are some ideas that maybe of use when thinking about how to get things done in rural ministry. So, after the video below, I’ve listed 10 ideas – adapted for rural ministers – from the conversations and presentations in the video. I hope some of these may spark ideas and insights for those engaged in rural ministry and mission. And at the foot of this post are some useful links to other resources on this subject.
1. It helps to develop a tolerance for risk, to be open to other people and their abilities, to listen, to expect to have to work hard and for many years, and to be scrupulous about scanning the horizon for opportunities.
2. Examine some form of pressing need in your locality. What do you least like about the state of your bit of the world? Then set about understanding why that is so. Next think about how your church might address that need – without owning or controlling the resources to achieve it.
3. Consider what would motivate others to give up their time or money to achieve your church’s aim. Be open to the idea being delivered through a not for profit or for profit channels. How might the power of those with £ to invest, or companies, or the supply chain or consumers or national/international standards be harnessed? Could you co-partner with a company/institution with influence from the start?
4. Consider whether the idea might include some form of independent, transparent, challenge-able assessment process based on scientific knowledge.
5. Guard against thinking your church’s view/analysis is superior to others.
6. Be sensitive about who your team speaks for, through or with.
7. Do have a plan to get started – but expect that once started it will have to change.
8. Build measurement of the idea’s success and scope for experimentation into your plan from the start – they are hard to add in later.
9. Be sensitive to signals that the idea is not working.
10. See if you can make the idea easy to copy.
Other useful links on this subject:
– wikipedia on social entrepreneurs;
– social enterprise uk (the national body for social enterprise);
– 5 new year resolutions for social entrepreneurs;
– Church Army Research paper “The faith sector, the state and market: Entrepreneurship within new forms of Christian social action”
– UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, a UK registered charity set up in 2002 includes a useful toolkit.
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