The Social Enterprise Tribe Meetings Notes: A Journey of Inquiry into Social Entrepreneurship

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The Social Enterprise Tribe met on Friday with one objective: to reclaim the word “social”! Social has spent a century with negative connotations: the horrors of “socialism”; the boringness of your middle school “social studies” class; the greed that hides under the under “social justice” banner. The word has been seized by our opponents, imbued with dirt and dust, and we must take it back, show off with pride! Our weapon for doing so: the social enterprise!

To do so first entails answering a question not as easy as it sounds: what is “social enterprise” after all? The Tribe’s consensus — under the just and righteous leadership of The Mighty Danielle Carruthers (now fearlessly leading The Sedge to victory!) — was that it is the belief that, making money and doing good don’t necessarily need to be contradictory; that, indeed, to truly do good, you can make a lot of money in the process! And that we ought to remove all shame from doing so.

Most noteworthy among the participants in the intellectually-stimulating round-table were Alvaro and Hannes of Renooble. Hannes won the award from the Social Enterprise Tribe Awards Committee — he won a gold star, indeed! — for the most insightful comment of the evening. While we were brainstorming, what extra energy is produced in our every day activities, Hannes (speaking in a very serious and formal tone) suggested that very angry men ought to use axes to chop wood — thus letting out their anger, and helping cut wood simultaneously. Oh, we laughed and laughed and felt joy and enjoyment (but no enjoinment, luckily) — the flowing pleasures of the evening themselves prove that helping those who need it and enjoying ourselves need not be contradictory. We keep on repeating this to ourselves because, if we say it enough, it must be true!

Not all comments of the evening were equally illuminating. Morgan Friedman of Gift Pinpoint (who has become accustomed to lowering the level of intelligence of any conversation he’s in — and he distinctly did so in the Tribe Meeting!), moronically speculated as to whether the famous Indian head-bob could be harnessed for energy in some way. Shiv Rajendran of Totus Power, who himself bobs his head with the perfect elegance of a man who grew up in Bombay, discoursed on machines in villages that harness the fountain pumping movements for electricity.

Most compelling of the tribe meet-up was the combined focus of both ACTION — something so lost in our universe of “discourse” and “discussion” and “conversation” and “analysis” — combined with a deep understanding of WHY we ought to do what we are doing. This particular makes made all of the adjectives (and nouns and verbs–yes, verbs, the heart of action!) we could attribute to the tribe particularly powerful: trying to not just blindly “do”, but to understand why we are doing it.

This raised deep questions: why the “social” enterprise? Is it true or just marketing? Your Humble Writer transcribing the above was only a visitor upon the evening, himself unsure of the “social” mission in and of itself. I asked the naive questions of the evening — wondering if “social enterprise” was just a marketing fad — to which everyone had strong opinions. But every group needs a naif to keep themselves grounded and not live with their head in the stars (for disaster stems from the misaligned stars), right? Or do we say that just to justify ourselves?

One of the truths to reveal itself in the evening is, the dual complexity and fragility of life. We can die any moment and therefore, what better way to spend our time upon this earth than creating awesome works, while doing good? And there is no better way to think about what the “social enterprise” actually is than the joining of these two deepest meanings of life into one: creating awesome works, while doing it for good at the same time. Amen to that.

***This collection of words was compiled by Morgan Friedman of Gift Pinpoint****