Social entrepreneurs are often trailblazers whether they like it or not. Seeking to fill a void in the business world opens up enough challenges, yet doing so in a market or environment that is not used to it can provide a whole slew of other difficulties.
Organizations like Kiva and SKS microfinance were not necessarily the first of their kind, but grew to such scale and recognition that they ended up being shoved into the spotlight as representatives for their industries.
Yet for each “mistake” or decision that a company makes, the industry is learning from it and adapting. I remember being encouraged to ask questions in the classroom: “chances are there were others in the audience that had the same question but were too afraid to ask it”.
The same holds true for difficult business decisions in such relatively uncharted industries. If missteps are made, the company has a chance to redeem themselves and publicly right their wrong: but others in the same industry get to learn without having to make the first move.
While this passive way of doing business can be considered safe many times, I think it is important not to lambast companies that do make bold decisions. Industry trailblazers are invaluable to helping shape the trajectory of the future, and while in the short term their decisions may not be the best, their results prove beneficial for all.