Covid19 will certainly go down as a big part of human history. It has affected our lives in so many ways – people are spending more time at home, even as the MCO becomes more relaxed, working from home is no longer an uncommon practice for corporations, new social norms and changes in personal habits are discovered, and while online shopping has boomed, we have become slightly more frugal & mindful with how we spend our money.
We have also witnessed how this pandemic has impacted the way we invoke change for the things we believe in, and events such as #blacklivesmatter is a clear testament of how the internet has given activists the power to voice out their frustrations.
New Mediums of Activism. Due to the pandemic, physical activities such as street protests and large gatherings have endured increased restrictions. Due to such limitations, more people are utilising the digital space for their activism work, be it fundraising, petitions, online protests, video conferences, or speeches about social and environmental issues. For activists and their supporters, the internet has become a platform and a tool for them to share their thoughts to a global audience from the comfort of their own home and this will continue to be an important tool for decades to come.
Neo Capitalism. There is also a rise in activism in recent years from the most unlikely group of people – the capitalists – who have up to this day been the enemy of social ideals. Donations of funds for charities and NGOs have reduced significantly due to the pandemic, and to be honest relying on donations alone is not a sustainable way to operate. The best way is to find additional ways of raising funds that can supplement the required cashflow. And where does all that money flow? The capitalist system.
The future is Social Entrepreneurship (SE). Aside from philanthropic business owners, we are now seeing social entrepreneurs sprout all over the world with no sign of it slowing down any time soon. This new breed of entrepreneurs and leaders use capitalism to do good. Instead of solely focusing on profitability, they seek to solve social and environmental issues, problems that people traditionally refer to NGOs and governments to solve.
The new way of thinking is to instill the cause at the core of the business – how I have instilled sustainability at the core of my manufacturing business in lieu to being a corporate social responsibility strategy. Besides profiting, contribution to the betterment of humanity and the environment should definitely be considered when operating a company. Instead of waiting for donations to work, these types of social enterprises are self-sufficient and self-reliant organisations. This new approach is a win-win situation and should be the way we move forward.
If you are an aspiring social entrepreneur or a leader wanting to lead a change in your organisation, do reach out to social entrepreneurs near you, and seek their views. Many of them are open to sharing as they too understand the need to succeed as a business. You can also join the SE Malaysia group where we can discuss issues and share support to social entrepreneurs as well as individuals interested in learning about social entrepreneurship.
If you are not a social entrepreneur, you can do your part by supporting and encouraging new social entrepreneurs as they work to become agents of change alongside the tree huggers and protestors.