It is no secret that social entrepreneurship is a growing industry. Especially in Western Europe and the United States, business-minded and socially-conscience individuals are merging their missions and making a difference. “The U.K. is certainly a great testing lab for social enterprises,” U.K. based start-up Ogunte’s Servane Mouazan told The Huffington Post. “But Europe in general is certainly very open to the concept and it’s a great movement to be part of.”
Mouazan began her social entrepreneurship network 12 years ago, and from the start noticed something unique: only women were joining. Though this may come as a surprise to many in an industry that tends to be male-dominated, Mouazan recognized an innate connection. “There’s this sort of natural tendency of spotting things that are not going well around us and willingness to transform them, to fix them,” Mouazan says, giving women a more pointed interest in her social enterprise.
Thus, Mouazan created Ogunte, a network organization designed to foster the skills of women and enable them to start their own social enterprises. According to the group’s website, Ogunte and its “Make a Wave” incubator program have already assisted more than 2,750 women, conducted research with 120 women social innovators globally and catalyzed 7 International Women’s Social Leadership Awards for impactful women social leaders.
Female social entrepreneurs are making strides outside of the U.K. as well. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report on social entrepreneurship analyzes and compares social venture activity across various world regions based on demographic factors such as age, education, work status, and gender. According to the report, the gender gap is not as high in the social realm as it is with the traditional commercial business route. In fact, women are surpassing men in social venture start-ups in Malaysia, Lebanon, Russia, Israel, Iceland, and Argentina. The ratio is about even in the United States, China, Finland, and Latvia.
Why is it important to foster women’s social entrepreneurial skills? “By taking women out of the shadows, balancing gender equity, equipping them, and connecting them to influential stakeholders, we grow the pool of entrepreneurial opportunities,” says Ogunte’s mission statement. “We boost local and global welfare and we help them to have a positive social impact on their wider networks.” Cultivating women’s social innovation breaks traditional barriers and benefits individuals – both men and women – all around the globe.
– Mallory Thayer