Helping the poor on Capitalism Appreciation Day

As loyal readers will know by now, Friday, May 3, is Capitalism Appreciation Day. Worthy of inflatable parasol rides, it’s a day to celebrate the important role start-up entrepreneurs – including soloists, mumpreneurs and home-based business owners – play as pillars of our community.


However, Old Taskmaster must report the response to this fine concept has not, unfortunately, been entirely enthusiastic.


Indeed, when I explained the concept to one colleague down at Snoqualmire’s cafe, they nearly choked on their vicuñacino. Hank, the kindly local Milwaukean Mennonite confectioner, found the concept tougher to swallow than some of his gobstoppers.


“But Taskmaster, you wily old tory, why do you encourage the celebration of greed? Or, for that matter, the degradation of our natural resources? And who is the patron saint of this ‘august’ occasion? Ayn Rand? Milton Friedman? Friedrich Hayek?!” says the colleague.


Of course, such a view overlooks the fact that many start-ups are designed to alleviate a social or environmental problem.


The growing clean tech field is a prime example of entrepreneurialism aimed at commercialising a solution to a pressing public issue. StartupSmart recently profiled a number of businesses at the cutting edge of the clean tech field in a two-part series, which you can read here and here.


Similarly, there are events such as the Australian Clean Technologies Competition that people with an environmental concern should pay attention to.


Then there’s the growing number of social enterprises, led by entrepreneurs whose primary aim is altruism and for whom wealth is a means to an end, rather than an end itself. (While this notion of “benevolence” is entirely foreign to your humble correspondent, apparently some people do still have consciences.)


“Social entrepreneurs come with fresh business ideas and innovative answers to social problems, producing business models that tackle everything from poverty to homelessness,” Leon Gettler explains.


Instead of just being concerned about a problem, these social entrepreneurs are using social enterprises to do something about it!


So do you have a social or environmental concern? Don’t say someone should do something about it. Be that someone! Do that something! Form a social enterprise!


As StartupSmart recently reported, applications are now open for Young Social Pioneers 2013, while start-ups in the disability sector can apply for a series of initiatives offered as part of the federal government’s Sustainable Social Enterprise Project. If the idea of launching a social enterprise has piqued your attention, it’s a good place to start.


So, enough whining! Old Taskmaster says it’s time to form a social enterprise and use capitalism to create the solution!


Get it done – this Capitalism Appreciation Day!


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