#Opinion

Doing Well By Doing Good is Possible, and Here’s How

Natasha Mudhar, Australia Pigeon Racing US
Natasha Mudhar: Social impact entrepreneurship, more often than not, is misunderstood as a not-for-profit venture. But when you delve in further you realise that it can in fact be deemed as entrepreneurship in its most recognisable sense, the kind which sustains a living, which simultaneously delivers positive outcomes for the ecosystem surrounding us. It brings us back to the age old enigma of ‘doing well by doing good’, because merging profits with social impact needn’t be two exclusive thought processes.

The world is living in extremes, but the kind which have been normalised amongst a generation desensitised to trauma. Whether it be the planet, reeling at the wounds of climate change and extreme weather events, or people, battling the impact of a global health crisis, starvation, war and displacement, the challenges we face have never been so profound. Equally, the need for ‘social entrepreneurship’ has never been greater.

Social entrepreneurship involves bringing together all stakeholders of our social fabric for devising, strategising, developing, and implementing solutions to solve social and environmental problems.

We are currently witnessing a consumption revolution. A global study by the SEFORIS project (the world’s largest study of social enterprises to date) has revealed that companies delivering inclusive growth by implementing a social impact strategy are also seeing rapid revenue growth. As the consumers evolve towards a more aware, responsible, impactful way of life, ignoring social impact is like putting a spoke in a wheel. Effective social impact strategies are not to be limited to social marketing and corporate philanthropy, instead, they need to be ingrained in the very DNA of a company, providing a concrete plan that has quantifiable business outcomes combined with a measurable and definitive societal impact.

As the founder of the social impact enterprise The World We Want, I have been working towards aligning the multi-national private sector with global icons, governments, and organisations to enable multi-sector efforts towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)– the bedrock to the future of people and planet.  It was in 2015 during my first engagement with the SDGs which felt like a defining moment. We realised that to achieve the SDGs by 2030, there was a need to engage cultures and demographics beyond policymakers, corporate sustainability officers, governments, and charities. When you assess the success, or failures, of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for example – you begin to understand that these sectors were already engaged as part of those efforts, yet the impact was limited. You begin to realise that the fate of the SDGs relies on reengaging the aforementioned stakeholders, but this time aligning them with the most impactful changemakers. The ones who ultimately hold the lion share of power when it comes to changing the way we live our lives – the global public.

Moreover, in an increasingly competitive world, where it comes down to survival of the fittest, there’s a rhetoric that profits need to come before purpose. As an entrepreneur, I understand that profit is the blood of a business, but values, ethics, and impact is the reason for its existence. A decision made without a sense of direction is a burden that is borne by every stakeholder. Our goal is to teach business leaders that there’s nothing wrong with making money and being commercially minded as well as having a sense of purpose, but morals have to be uncompromisable.

As an entrepreneur, I understand that profit is the blood of a business, but values, ethics, and impact is the reason for its existence.

As a woman in business, I have always had my grandmother and mother to look up to. I am a witness of the female resilience and the sheer determination of women to make a difference. According to an OECD working paper, “Women-led ventures seem to be more likely to open up new markets – that is, when starting up, providing a product/service which no one else at that time provided. This suggests that perhaps due to their specific sensitivity towards social needs, women social entrepreneurs are notable ‘lead innovators’ when it comes to social innovation”.

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Social entrepreneurship would be our canvas to create change, stride against each roadblock to nurture a safe space for ourselves and the ones to take our mantle. The foundations to build an enterprise like ours was laid for me all those years ago when my mother fought to make a name for herself as a business owner. I battled the voice in my own head that told me that I got it easy. My mother, Teji, is a woman of steel and had to literally move mountains to build a highly successful career against the backdrop of stereotyping and social pressures. Unlike her, I have lived quite a privileged life to date, but one where the notion of social conscience and integrity are rife. The drive to do well for myself whilst doing well for others.

My mother, Teji, is a woman of steel and had to literally move mountains to build a highly successful career against the backdrop of stereotyping and social pressures.

When you embrace your own story and come to realise that one doesn’t have to had experienced hardships to feel the pain of those who have, you are on your way to making a change.

The beggars on the streets, the plight of violated women, the stories of helpless children, and a planet in pain do not let me stop. Now as I continue to protect, preserve and progress to create the world they want, together we will create THE WORLD WE WANT.

 Natasha Mudhar is the Founder of The World We Want. The views expressed are the author’s own.