Bridging the Non-Divide

by Shelby Zitelman

What really separates a non-profit from a for-profit besides a legal classification and mission statement?

What is the difference between a social enterprise from an enterprise that is socially responsible?

There are so many buzz-words thrown around these days, and the distinctions between their definitions is not so clear. At least to me…

I’m not curious about classifications or metrics, like the ones B Corporation is establishing. Although I am incredibly impressed with the change this organization is effecting, I’m particularly interested to identify the overlap between these business to determine whether collaboration and mind-sharing opportunities exist.

Specifically – how do we tap into the culture of innovation and start-up experience of our Israeli and Jewish communities, and allocate this collective knowledge towards the “social-entrepreneurs” among us? How do we prove that the relationship is mutually beneficial, and that just because a non-profit professional is not expressly working to expand the “bottom line” he or she may know a thing or two about development, sales and bringing in hard cash?

There is an amazing concept emerging in Philadelphia called Missioneurs which hits the nail on the head.

Founded by Blake Jennelle, a peer of mine from Philadelphia (and all around action-oriented change maker) Missioneurs is “a community of mission entrepreneurs separated for decades by the types of organizations we lead. Now we’re coming together around our common sense of mission and hard-nosed entrepreneurial approach. We’re why people. Together we can solve any how.”

So simple. So obvious. Anyone trying to solve a problem/start a business/launch a project goes through similar hoops, ladders and hurdles to realize a vision. So why don’t we collaborate?

Let’s get the conversation started. Entrepreneurs, entrepreneur wannabes, consultants, investors, philanthropists, developers etc … will meet at a bar and shmooze. The first beer will be on me. Well not really, but I will speak to Blake about how we can leverage his experience for the PresenTense community – and will plan a “MissionMob” soon. Talk about accountability and transparency. Please hold me to this one.

Who knows what amazing opportunities will emerge?

Shelby Zitelman lives in Jerusalem and is Venture Resources Coordinator for the PresenTense community.

This post originally appeared on the PresenTense blog; reprinted with permission.