Community entrepreneurs are typically groups or organisations that seek out and act upon opportunities to transform communities and create a positive impact on community values.
Why this is different to social entrepreneurship is that many social entrepreneurship models focus on individuals and disadvantage.
Community entrepreneurship focuses on the community as a whole and creates a sense of abundance for all.
Examples of activities can include:
• A new indoor-outdoor community facility in a built up neighbourhood
• A community focus on activities that reduce the carbon footprint
• Business attraction in rural communities
• Making strategic use of IT to connect communities
• Creating community identities through music and the arts
What does a Community Entrepreneur look like?
They’re in your community. They have a story to tell – a story that has transformed your community. Or they probably haven’t stepped forward to make their mark yet? Maybe it’s you. Here are some ways to spot your local community entrepreneur or even one in the making.
The anatomy of a Community Entrepreneur
1. Laser sharp vision
Community entrepreneurs have a clear idea of what they want to achieve – both physically and in terms of impact on the community. Their vision is ambitious and ground breaking by anybody’s standard. Their challenge is not just to get the interest and support of the community, but to keep the community patient as all good things take time to build.
2. Mind over matter
Bringing a new idea to fruition requires strategic thinking. People can be suspicious of anything new. New ideas challenge those who are slower to accept change. From the start community entrepreneurs think and plan above the fray.
Conserving energy to focus on achieving results, community entrepreneurs focus on big picture thinking. Don’t try to bog them down, they will find a way to move ahead no matter what the obstacle.
3. The language of change
To be effective, they must be able to understand and communicate well to influence change. These groups operate within the community so the change they are influencing impacts on them as well. They are already talking the language of the community.
Their role is to motivate and lead through dialogue within the community and get the support of stakeholders and other agents of change to achieve the desired results. Failure is not in their vocabulary.
4. Shouldering responsibility
Leadership is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Along the way others may want more control or will fade into the background when things are not going to plan. Individual personalities can make or break a community venture. At some point the group leading the project must step forward and own its responsibility, especially when it comes to finances, resources and process.
5. Maintaining a steady balance
They leave the knee jerk reactions to others. Negotiations require a steady nerve as they walk the tightrope of change. Navigating obstacles, ducking the slings and arrows of opposition, community entrepreneurs harness their vision and start with a goal and use a plan to get there.
6. Forward momentum
Community entrepreneurs are going places. No looking backwards for them. Propelled by positive energy that permeates throughout the community, they will succeed.
The only thing holding you back is your own self-doubt. Group think can get bogged down in dogma. Smash the chains once and for all and bring the dream to life.
Is your group the next generation community entrepreneur? Congratulations. There’s no better time to start than now. Don’t let self-doubt win before you begin.
The Community Entrepreneur is a company set up to support aspiring community entrepreneurs through the challenges and opportunities that must be addressed in order to achieve long term success.
We do this through our Entrepreneurial Thinking Coaching and Mentoring Program. We work with change agents within organisations as well as the whole organisation and support them through the ideas generation, planning and implementation of their vision or project.