In the context of competing ideas in the world of ICT4D over the term, its purpose, the funding, the marketing, etc., I’d like to learn more about the role of social enterprise – a seemingly happy medium in between ICT4$ and ICT4D. In theory the idea of social enterprise incorporates the good characteristics of both ICT4$ and ICT4D and is without either of their extreme negative components. For instance, ICT4D doesn’t become a marketable commodity in itself when applying or competing for funding from donors who make a name for themselves by funding operations that are good PR stunts without necessarily having the capacity to be financially sustainable after achieving start-up momentum. ICT4$ necessarily runs the risk of traditional capitalist exploits, and invokes concern for widening the digital divide instead of mending it.
Successful social business, in the words of Muhammad Yunus (Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism), has the unique ability to both serve and make money from the poor simply by approaching the market with a non-traditional-capitalist outlook. The articles linked below discuss social enterprise in a couple different ways.The Missing Middlepredicts that social enterprise is going to grow almost exponentially by 2020. With this is emerging the growth of lenders – banks that also are forming a new idea of capitalism and are looking to fund more “doing good and doing well” business startups.
Our very own Wyan Vota from last class commented (if you scroll to the bottom) addressing the concern that NGOs are generally not involved in receiving this type of funding because they are not for-profit organizations. With this comment he seems to be implicitly asking whether this revolution of funders’ outlooks on capitalism is really revolutionary; is the exclusion of non-profits really necessary and actually prohibitive to the idea of “doing good and doing well”? Like we discussed in class, everyone has to make money, no matter what you do.
The bottom article is purely supplementary, from an organization called Women Online, vaguely inciting questions over the definition of social enterprise (i.e, should Wal-Mart have been put in charge of FEMA operations during Hurricane Katrina)? It’s short, so I attached it in case the site in general is at all interest-piquing.