In a world with social media reigning supreme, innovative technology being developed every day and the realization of new methods to complete every business processes – it is no surprise that technology will play a role in social enterprise in the coming years. With creative social solutions such as developing reading machines for the disabled community, mobile applications designed to educate children in third world countries and other innovative ideas, social entrepreneurs are embracing the power of technology to create social change.
A great example of this technology-driven social change is mPowering, a mobile application that awards goods and services to individuals facing extreme poverty when they make beneficial choices, such as attending school or seeking prenatal care. This concept, based on an incentive model, is designed to improve the lives of the ultra-poor by allowing them to meet their short-term needs, while focusing on their long-term goals to get out of the poverty cycle. Additionally, the mobility and viral access that technology grants allows donors and contributors to see the change that they are making.
An obvious question that arises is why a poverty-filled region of the world would even be able to access a Smartphone application? However, surprisingly enough, regions where there are extreme needs for education, infrastructure and medical care, often also have excellent cell phone coverage. And this is what sparked the idea of mPowering.
With technology often reaching farther then philanthropy and charity can, it is clear to see how technology can play a critical role in supporting individuals that need the help in such regions of the world. However, technology can also create social change closer to home. Organizations like EthicalDeal and the Ideal Network are embracing the group-buying model to promote an ethical consumer movement. Through an online website, these organizations highlight green or ethically-made products and use the group-buying model to help these companies reach a mass market. These group-buying models allow consumers to try new and unfamiliar green and ethical products.
Though these are just a few examples of social entrepreneurship creating innovative positive changes through technology, these are just hitting the tip of the iceberg. From a basic e-commerce site to new patented technology – there are new ideas and new solutions to the social problems we face. Social entrepreneurship is changing the face of philanthropy and how we make positive change, and there are no doubts that technology will be a median this is done through.