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Social entrepreneurship as a transformative force A popular approach to social entrepreneurship is to see it as applying business management skills to achieve social ends. Nothing wrong with that. Many social minded ventures could benefit from sharp management common in successful private sector firms. But social entrepreneurs can be transformative forces too: people with new ideas to solve society's most stubborn problems. Like leaders have to be, social entrepreneurs too must be relentless in the pursuit of their vision. Since its founding in the 1950s’ the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement has been a force for change in rural Sri Lanka, empowering the most marginalised and rural communities to figure out how to address their own needs. For Sarvodaya, micro credit has been a tool for village regeneration and local activism. It’s also a third way between state provision of public services and full-on privatisation. Government is resource-constrained and private capital is weary of low returns in rural investments. Organising disadvantaged communities to address their own needs matters. However, the advent of technology, global supply chains, and the advantage that scale confers, mean that entrepreneurs can no longer ignore the impact these have had on consumer expectations. Village entrepreneurs may stay local but they cannot ignore product development, marketing and supply chain. Sarvodaya Development Finance, a firm controlled by the movement, is taking an innovative and transformative approach to village regeneration and entrepreneurship. They are featured on the cover this month.

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