The Roots of Social Business - Social Entrepreneurship Explained Through the Role Model TOMS

Social entrepreneurship is all about recognizing social issues in our world and achieving a social change by employing entrepreneurial principles, strategies, and operations.” In our modern world, we keep on facing major social problems like Hunger, Diseases, Global Warming, or the Refugee Crisis. Social entrepreneurship gives each individual the opportunity to confront these issues and stand up to fight for the people who are suffering from them.

Although a social enterprise and an NGO might seem very similar, there is a major difference between them, which should be clear to everyone to understand the concepts of social entrepreneurship. The main difference between an NGO and a social enterprise is the financial model. While NGOs rely and operate on public funding and donations, a social enterprise is a self-sustained business that makes a profit, which is reinvested in order to increase the quality of life and well-being of the less fortunate. Furthermore, different to a normal business, the success of a social enterprise is measured by the social and ecological impact rather than by its profit margins.

Being one of the first social enterprises, “TOMS” has certainly made an impact on the social entrepreneurial society by being a role model for other like-minded companies for the past and it will be in the future. It all started in 2006 when Blake Mycoskie (founder and CEO of “TOMS”) travelled through Argentina and saw the bitter truth of how kids grow up with almost nothing; not even shoes. Blake Mycoskie felt that he had the power to change something and founded“TOMS Shoes”. He introduced the “One for One” idea, where for every pair of shoes that is purchased by consumers, one pair would go a child in need of shoes but no money to afford it.

The “One for One” idea quickly became TOMS’ business concept and with the help of 90 giving partners and a spread over 60 countries TOMS has become one of the biggest social enterprises not only supplying free shoes but also helping to restore people’s eyesight, supplying clean water sources, giving medical aid to mothers to ensure safe births of their babies, setting up solar energy for people in need and fighting mobbing among teenagers. Ideas like this “One to One” idea are the perfect weapon to fight social issues, and as we see social enterprises like “TOMS” can and will positively affect the lives of millions of people! Blake Mycoskie’s vision is simple but powerful: “Increase the quality of life of everyone”; not only the people in need but also TOMS employees, partners, and suppliers. Blake’s vision, determination, and stamina have already had a major influence on so many people:

- Over 75 million pairs of shoes have reached children in need

- The eyesight of 500.000 peoples has been restored

- 450.000 weeks of clean water has been supplied

- Over 175.000 mothers were helped to deliver their child

- 70.000 teenagers were helped by setting up mobbing reaction programs

- Over 17.000 people were given access to free solar energy

And always remember: Everyone has the need to satisfy the needs of others. So, by increasing the quality of lives and happiness of other people you increase yours too.