The Difference Between NGO And Social Business
Although social business is stronger in terms of its ability to recycle money,use this money to empower the poor financially, lift them from poverty and position to a comfortable level in life. Notwithstanding, the importance of NGO as regards charity cannot be underestimated. It is NGO who takes care of deformed babies who cannot work or fend for themselves. When disaster strikes, NGO are often the ones who reach out to help people who are unable to help themselves at that particular point.
NGos in Nigeria, fought for the kidnapped Chibok girls. They refused to allow the government to bury the case of Chibok girls otherwise it would have been long forgotten. They are the spoke-persons for the poor,they attempt to influence government policies and programs on their behalf. This is done through variety of means, ranging from; demonstration and pilot projects, to participation in public forums, the formulation of government policy and publicizing of research results and case studies of the poor. Thus NGOS play roles from advocates for the poor, to implementers of government programs; from agitators and critics to partners and advisers; from sponsors of pilot projects to mediators. Yunus agrees that not all charity should be replaced by social business. Sometimes simply helping people in desperate need is essential – for instance, when a natural disaster such as the tsunami of 2004 or the terrible earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, destroyed infrastructures, made people homeless, create a huge need for food, medicine, and clothing. Families within a few days of starvation cannot wait to launch businesses to sustain themselves, they will need the very basic needs of life such as; food, shelter and clothing immediately, which only charitable organizations can respond to. Little babies who are orphans or those suffering from terrible sicknesses, the elderly who can no longer work and need to be looked after, the young people who lie sick and are unable to provide for themselves need NGOs.
Yunus, pointed out that the potential sphere for social business, within which poor people can become self -sufficient is greater than many people assume. Grameen bank for instance, make it possible for beggars to transform themselves into business owners . Social business delivers social benefits. It lift up the poor and the downtrodden in the society and give them hope, which result in improvement of their standard of living. For instance,through Grameen Bank, many poor people in Bangladesh were financially empowered.
Anyone who intends to invest in social business must first of all take a closer look at the system in the country or community in which the investor intends to establish this business. The belief system of the would-be beneficiaries can contribute in making social business a success or a failure, as Yunus wrote “poverty is not created by the poor people. It is created by the system we have built, the institution we have designed, and the concepts we have formulated” . The system could be religious or traditional.
Social Business And The Belief System Of Some Communities In Nigeria
There are certain communities in Nigeria who believe it is okay to be poor. This belief has been fueled by leaders who brainwashed them, telling them that their God made some of them (the leaders) to be wealthy and rule over them, while,the poor destined to be so, by that same god. The poor in these communities accepted this as the absolute truth. Their elites feed them and give them alms. This belief system is very beneficial to the elites in these part of Nigeria, because these poor people who live at their mercy are their foot soldiers, whom they can use to unleash any kind of evil at anytime things in the country does not go their way. When the poor in these region travel out to other parts of Nigeria and see how everyone (leaders and non leaders) live comfortably, their way of thinking begins to change, they also start working hard to live a better life and also send money back to their families. Most people in these region are not educated, their elites prefer them to remain illiterate so as not to challenge this ideology, while they send their children to the best schools in different part of the world. For social business to be successful in these region, investors will have to first of all change their belief system .
Majority of Nigerians including the poor are entrepreneurial in nature, the very reason why a ‘Type II’ social business will thrive in the country. The poor people in Nigeria will greatly value this type of social business which can financially empower them. This Empowerment will not only benefit the beneficiaries, it will equally benefit their families and the nation at large. The question is how many Nigerian investors will really want to invest in social business, go through the challenge of building a successful business and not touch the profits? Since social business is designed exclusively to deliver social benefits, with no thought of creating profit for the investor.
Investors in social business must have self control, they must be selfless – ability to face the challenge of building a successful social business empire, with the awareness that they will not partake in the share of the profits. This is very sacrificial, and takes lots of self-discipline. There are many selfless people in Nigeria, but someone will have to take the first step and after a successful outing, others may follow.
Someone may ask, why should I go through all the rigor of establishing a profitable social business, but cannot touch the profit? Many investors may find this a bit hard to understand, the Nigerian society is not an exception. Investors in Nigeria may need to ponder on this over and over again. It will be difficult, but it can be done by Nigerians, especially after reading Yunus reason as to why such sacrifice needs to be made “ the desire to make the world a better place – these are the feelings that millions of people share. And those feelings are all you need to want to start a social business” .
In Yunus explanation, the major difference between starting a social business and a regular business is core motivation of the entrepreneur. Most people who intend to start profit-maximizing business are focused on earning lots of money. They start by searching for a good business idea , a product or service niche which no other business is filling; a new way to supply a need for which lots of people are willing to pay huge some of money for. An investor who intends to invest in social business does not begin by looking for a business case that will yield maximum profit, rather the investor starts by picking a social problem he or she will like to solve and then seek a business solution for it. Profit is important but only as a necessary condition, not as an ultimate goal.
One of the easiest way to invest in social business is to first of all look around you, identify that particular social problem that disturbs you, which you will like to change. Identify the root cause of the problem, and dig deep instead of just looking at the surface.
In Nigeria, we have as our major issues unemployment and lack of capital for entrepreneurs to start their own small business, which can easily be solved through provisions of loans to the poor and the unemployed, since most Nigerians are entrepreneurial. There is also ‘the academic issues’. Most of the good schools pitch their school fees so very high, the government schools are reserved mainly for maids. Parents who can afford private school fess will never send their children to public schools. A social business that can provide good education at an affordable price to the poor will be greatly welcome. The next pressing issue is healthcare, a social business that can provide good health care for the poor at an affordable rate will be greatly appreciated too. Apart from these, are problem which exist around our neighborhoods which any investor who sincerely wants to establish a social business can begin with.
Written by Vera Aigbonoga