Home > Uncategorized > 'Lone Wolf' Issues Part One

'Lone Wolf' Issues Part One

One of the major differences between social entrepreneurial start-ups and those in the commercial world is that many social enterprises tend to be started by one person. In the commercial world, venture capital companies give funding as much to the team as to the idea. In a situation where ‘Great Idea, Good Team’ versus ‘Good Idea, Great Team’ it is more than likely that the great team gets the funding. As the external environment changes so quickly, the venture capital company prefers to put their faith in the team. In social enterprises, due to the nature of the vision and mission, it is often started by one well meaning person. This person has the passion and drive to develop the idea into something more substantial. Unfortunately this has led to one-person start-ups, which leaves the new entity with a number of risks. The first risk is that it becomes totally dependent on that one person. If personal circumstances change, then the new entity’s future may be in peril. The other big issue is that without a mixture of abilities that a great team can offer, the start-up is actually hindered by it’s founder. This leads to a ‘cult of personality’ within the entity, even if there is more staff now working there. Like many small and medium enterprises it is totally dominated by that one person in terms of strategy and direction. Those who may suit a start-up environment in the early part of its development may not be the one to lead it to growth and further enlargement. This may be one of the reasons why so many social enterprises stay small and why the sector is so fragmented. While there is a lot of support for start-ups in the commercial world (incubators like INVENT, Enterprise-Ireland), there still is not the infrastructure to support the development of such an important part of the (social) economy.

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