Imagine you waking up one day with an idea of directing your business skills towards uplifting the profile of a social issue by deploying capital, skills and management. While mitigating the social issues, you reap profit as a bottom line; obviously, you are a social entrepreneur. Social entrepreneurs may establish their startups to achieve their emancipating objective or restructure their existing business to fit this profile.In the west and other advanced economies, more and more companies are being driven to direct their capital towards social issues by their shareholders. The remarkable result of this new 21st century phenomenon has contributed more to changes in the economic empowerment of the poor. Take for example the manual windup mobile phone charger; a simple cheap device making use of basic long existing technology, but has become indispensable in the expansion of mobile phone coverage to the most remote places in the world were access to electricity is non existent or intermittent at best.For most people, the success of micro-finance banks and the makeover effect on the face of commerce in the communities were they operate should draw in a great deal of debate on whether the scaling down of non-emergency aid for social investments may be the best way to draw out a society from it’s circle of poverty.Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) were the face of development aid in the last century. They channeled private and public donations towards emergency relief, stabilization of communities recovering from crisis situations and also providing technical support and finance towards developmental projects. Now how much developmental projects must NGOs engage in without depleting the influence of the state or undermining the capacity of the locals from being independent resource wise anytime soon? This has been a recurring question and subject of debate.Across the world, there are more and more startups with the capacity to invent new products and services that are revolutionary to the needs of the poor and at the same time commercially viable to a business. The missing link is, how do we direct this idea or invention to those who need them most? For the established big firms or multinationals, this wont be a big problem. With their established names and marketing/distribution infrastructure, they can penetrate the market. Who comes to the aid of the small social entrepreneur?States in developing coherent policies on poverty alleviation should recognize the role that can be played by social entrepreneurs and as such have a mechanism in place to identify innovations that work inline with projects on ground. Take for example, the one computer per child idea. There was a product (a hand windup rechargeable laptop costing $100 each), but needed a market to make it viable, for that market to be activated, countries like Nigeria did then ordered about a million of such computers at a time. This volume would have helped reduced cost of production per system and guaranteed a continuous flow-out to more beneficiaries. The pilot project showed that children who had these computers had a remarkable change of attitude to learning, an interest in the sciences and technology was aroused and the computers became an indispensable aid to teaching in various subjects.Profit is a motivating propellant that can bring on board the long term commitment of the best hands to actualize an objective, it speeds up growth and orientates the mind towards attaining results, if social issues are addressed as a consequence, then this may not be a bad strategy to throw more support behind. So state development planners can create the patronage and enabling environment to motivate the growth of this new industry.
There are a number of excellent schools for getting your Master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree. You may feel that you don’t have the grades or credentials to qualify for the top 5 which include Washington University in St. Louis, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of Chicago in Illinois, Columbia University in NYC and University of Washington in Seattle. But there are other schools with top ratings that you may be a good match for.Here are the some highly ranked social work programs around the United States:University of California in Berkley – students can earn an MSW or PhD. They also offer dual programs social welfare and public health, social welfare and law degree.University of Texas, Austin – This school offers a MSSW degree. This is another alternative to the MSW and is recognized as such.University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – offers MSW, dual Master’s in law, public administration, public health, and divinity, and a doctorate degree.University of Southern California, Los Angeles – has MSW and PhD program and a nurse social work options. This is a dual degree for those who want to study health and social work.Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Oh – This degree is a Master’s of Science in Social Administration. Students can also participate in several dual degree programs.Please be aware that you don’t have to go to a top ten school to get an excellent job in the field or on the insurance panels. Most employers will focus on your degree and internship as well as enthusiasm. The main thing is to find a program that resonates with your own interests as well as has staff that you can help you have a good learning experience.