How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World by Robert Ashton

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How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World by Robert Ashton

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Buy How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World by Robert Ashton at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: Written by a best-selling author of numerous business books, this latest concentrates on all things 'social' but also reminds the reader that making money is part of the mix too. Packed with useful tips, websites and information, this book could be seen as a timely publication as we try to get to trips with David Cameron's 'Big Society' concept.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 300 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Capstone Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 978-0857080608

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This book is aimed at those individuals amongst us who want to make a difference. They may have an idea of what they want to achieve but not sure of how to take that vital first step. This is where this book comes in, says Ashton in his conversational style. He takes the reader by the hand and guides him/her through the business maze. And before we go any further, what, exactly do we mean by the perhaps woolly phrase of 'Social Entrepreneur'? Many think it means doling out charity of some description to vulnerable individuals. Not quite. It's all about helping people to help themselves - and in doing so, they in turn are helping their families by lifting them out of poverty, joblessness or even hopelessness. And I found that the inspirational elements of this book were uplifting.

Anyone who aspires to be a social entrepreneur would do well to remember, says Ashton unapologetically, that it is a business first and foremost. Bills have to be paid etc. And Ashton kicks in with lots of no-nonsense advice for a start-up business of this description. It must be sustainable. No good to anyone, he says, illustrating the point, of say opening a soup kitchen for the homeless - for it to fold a month later. Those people who relied on a hot meal are back where they started - or worse.

Armed with your initial 'social' idea, Ashton shares his knowledge and experience. For example, he points the reader to sources of potential funding or grant(s), making sure you enlist the help of like-minded people for your venture and crucially - how to step back and measure how you're managing your project in the initial stages. He also enters more detailed territory and explains, for instance, the difference between a social entrepreneur and a social enterprise. To add weight and also contrast to what some readers may see as a little heavy, Ashton gives us some well-known names: Jamie Oliver, for example, to think about. In plain language, we're talking about individuals who, having been financially successful in their chosen field, want to go that extra mile, do that little bit extra. Not for themselves, but for others less advantaged, shall we say. They are not do-gooders, they are creating viable and hopefully profitable businesses at the same time.

A sentence which resonated with me is all about balance: the balance between people, planet and profit. Easy to say, very difficult to carry out, if nigh on impossible in some cases. Globally, tensions usually exist in some form or another.

The lay-out of the book is good and easy to read and understand. There's bullet points, different fonts etc to create an interesting look on the page. I also thought that the various real-life case studies were excellent and carried home the point. Lots of creative and lateral thinking too. But also plenty of solid, practical advice such as how to prepare a business plan, being aware of customer/client needs and also how to be an effective communicator. All good stuff.

Currently, when we're witnessing both local and central government announcing big and painful cuts in public services, this book may be a timely addition. I would recommend this book to all would-be, wannabe and budding entrepreneurs out there.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Presentation Coach by Graham Davies.

Buy How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World by Robert Ashton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World by Robert Ashton at Amazon.co.uk


Buy How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World by Robert Ashton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World by Robert Ashton at Amazon.com.

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