An Entrepreneurial Perspective on Philanthropy

From Forbes.com by Naveen Jain, World Innovation Institute Founder:

Philanthropy is not about giving money but about solving problems. While well-meaning, the idea of writing a check and calling it “philanthropy” is extremely short-sighted and unfortunately, extremely pervasive.

Instead, philanthropist should think like an entrepreneur and think of social challenges as an opportunity to create large enterprises. It’s really easy to create a $1 billion company–you just have to solve a $10 billion problem. Most of these large $10 to $100 billion problems happen to be social problems. That’s why I think that some of the largest opportunity exist for an entrepreneur in solving humanity’s grand challenges.

True philanthropy requires a disruptive mindset, innovative thinking and a philosophy driven by entrepreneurial insights and creative opportunities. To disrupt the status quo, drive philanthropy at tremendous scale, and develop long-term economic vitality through giving, we must apply the same models for success in our philanthropic endeavors as we do in business.

As a lifelong entrepreneur, I see philanthropic organizations the same as any other business venture. Much like today’s start-ups that accept VC money but never turn a profit, a philanthropic venture that does not create a self-monetizing, sustainable financial model will ultimately fail.

In short, philanthropy requires disruption. This disruptive mindset hinges on a practice I call Entrepreneurial Philanthropy, which is designed to support innovation that creates sustainable, thriving economies in communities with tremendous need. Further, it requires the utilization of several principles rooted in today’s successful enterprises.

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GMN