With all the hype surrounding innovation, entrepreneurship, SMEs and job creation, authors in the field find it difficult not to repeat each other.
Shelves in the bookstores are bursting with “how to start a successful business”, “startup guru” and similar volumes.
The concept of entrepreneurship already has a long history behind it. Say and Schumpeter, founders of the definition, wrote about value creation,
resource reallocation and “creative destruction” of the ecosystem. Drucker then added the entrepreneurial focus on opportunity – intentional
search for change and exploitation of market niches, and Stevenson has since contributed with the idea of resourcefulness: to him, entrepreneurs
often pursue the opportunities without the actual resources in hand.
Generally, we observe that all the entrepreneurs make innovation, flexibility, and creativity operational.
To me the analogy of a mushroom reflects the “creative destruction” phenomenon; even the semantics of the verb “mushrooming” symbolize a
sudden disturbance of a local ecosystem and shifting patterns of activities.
The aim of this piece is slightly unusual. Utilizing a mushroom prototype, the essay depicts the contentious issue of distinction between
entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship.
C ANTHARELLUS CIBARIUS , KNOWN AS THE
CHANTERELLE [ ENTREPRENEURSHIP ]
“Chanterelles seem to be worth their weight in gold. They are golden looking,
golden tasting, and golden priced”1
Chanterelles will reappear in the same places year after year if carefully harvested so as not
to disturb the ground in which the mycelium (the vegetative part of the mushroom) grows
| i.e. | Entrepreneurship tends to reside close to academic and business institutions, clusters and
valleys, financial entities and etc. There also is a strong correlation with lively young cities.
The cap is infundibuliform (shallowly depressed). | i.e.| The cap represents the mission, stem –
the business model. In entrepreneurship we see an integral function: the mission is a blunt
extension of the venture’s nature and activities. The mission (cap) is not detachable, it reaffirms
that financial fitness is both the means and the ends for a successful enterprise.
The chanterelle has ridges– short, blunt, elevated lines on the stem and under the cap. | i.e.|
The ridges illustrate a solid financial model and mission integration. It shows that the size of the
mission is determined by the ability to acquire financial resources; the mission is therefore directly
linked to possible returns from it. Expansive mission cap is not possible having a lean revenue
HUNTING FOR CHANTERELLES (entrepreneurs). The mushroom is fairly easy to spot. Vigorous
models of entrepreneurship might be identified by large healthy cap (good mission statement),
thick stem (durable business model), and shiny color (innovation, creativity, market niche) – all
representing potential financial capacity. In a location with little other mushrooms, the chanterelle
has favorable conditions to grow.
1 Wild About Mushrooms, Chanterelle, http://www.mssf.org/cookbook/chanterelle.html
B OLETUS EDULIS , COMMONLY KNOWN AS
PORCINI OR CEP [ SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ]
“In the vast culinary world of edible mushrooms, only one can be called king.”
The cap is convex, detachable, has a different color than stem does | i.e. | The mission (cap)
clearly tops the enterprise model, and portrays an obvious structural distinction (easily
detachable). For social entrepreneurship, mission is explicit and central. It is the key criteria for
the quality of the enterprise.
Pores under cap: many small tubes ending in a spongy surface | i.e. | Pores under the cap
reflects the complex nature of social entrepreneurship: the wide cap (mission) is not directly met
by financial veins (see ridges in chanterelle model). Social entrepreneurs often have to rearrange
and carefully manage the financial streams to satisfy the large mission cap.
Porcini grows in deciduous and coniferous forests and tree plantations forming symbiotic
ectomycorrhizal associations with living trees by enveloping sheaths of fungal tissue around
their underground roots | i.e. | Social entrepreneurship appears in places with certain
institutional “infrastructure” in place. However, it does not require a “rich soil” and easily grows
next to decay wood (=failing institutions). Social entrepreneurs are likely to appear where
ecosystem has major challenges, relatively weak governments (with exceptions), a culture that
does not stall entrepreneurship and favorable climate (legal and tax regimes).
SUSTAINABILITY. Social entrepreneurship differs from other business ventures having
sustainability at the core of its mission. It means wide ranging impacts for society and nature are
carefully monitored, creating a triple bottom line for social enterprise managers.
HUNTING FOR PORCINI (social entrepreneurs). Markets do not work well for social
entrepreneurs; survival and growth of a social business is not a proof of its efficiency or
effectiveness in the social realm. Therefore for social entrepreneurship mushroom, a thick stem
(financial capacity) could be a signal of robust financial model, but this does not necessarily
coincide with a large and shining cap. The mission, however, is the central criteria to determine
the quality of the activity. Analyze the cap.