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[Review] The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook


An increasing trend in entrepreneurship is in the area of social enterprises – those non-profit organizations that operate businesses both to raise revenue and to further their social missions. These social ventures straddle the fine line between needing to be viable businesses, yet on the other hand to generate enough profits to sustain their chosen causes. That’s a difficult task for any entrepreneur, but one which veteran micro financier Rupert Scofield hopes to help with.

In his new book “The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook: How to Start, Build, and Run a Business That Improves the World“, Scofield shares his framework with aspiring social entrepreneurs on how to start, develop, and maintain a social enterprise from scratch. He should know – over the past 38 years, he’s served in pretty much every capacity in the modern non-profit world. Scofield, the president and CEO of FINCA – a charitable organization that offers micro loans to the world’s lowest income entrepreneurs – shares his own, sometimes very personal, experiences, ranging from being as a Peace Corp volunteer in Guatemala to running FINCA. The pages are riddled with examples and stories – some heartwarming, some heart-wrenching – from those who have taken the plunge.

I like that Scofield provides much of the same, great business management and leadership advice that is needed to make every business successfully. After all, a social enterprise is as much a business as it is a charity. From finding the right idea, targeting the right constituents, to the importance of finding a good mentor and getting the right team together, Scofield dishes out exactly what an aspiring social entrepreneur needs to hear.

I’ve previously sat on a panel judging some youth social enterprise ideas. If “The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook” had been available then, I would have made it required reading for those noble young men and women so they know exactly what they needed to do. And I would have pointed them to the first piece of Scofield’s enlightened advice – walk a mile in your constituent’s shoes. And perhaps those youngsters would have come back with much better ideas then.

So whether you are an established or aspiring entrepreneur with the desire to promote positive change, “The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook” is for you.


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