Young Caregivers and Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship (SE) is about finding and implementing ways to meet a social need.
Researchers investigated the role of prosocial motivation, intrinsic motivation, and gender in forming social entrepreneurial intention (SEI). While prosocial motivation refers to an individual’s desire to care other people or group, intrinsic motivation is an activity for individual’s personal satisfaction. Researchers sampled 145 males and 162 females participants and their research show that individuals with higher levels of prosocial motivation demonstrate a greater desire to become social entrepreneurs. Although their survey shows that male participants have higher SEI than females, more women than men had prior volunteer experience but women with previous volunteer experience have lower SEI. Researchers explain these results by pointing out caregiving and helping tendencies of women from a young age and it might cause women to experience stress more intensely than men and the emotional burden they experience might cause them to prefer the social entrepreneurship role less but there are also some examples that contradict this idea (Yamini et al., 2020).

Young caregivers are children or young people who care for their family members who are ill or living with psychological or physical problems. The literature is limited for young caregivers but researchers show the importance of social enterprise and entrepreneurship roles in supporting their family members and vulnerable adults who are living with critical health conditions (Heyworth-Thomas et al., 2019). For example, Lori La Bey left her career of 25 years, as a residential Realtor and her aging parents enhanced La Bey’s entrepreneurial spirit. She created “Alzheimer’s Speaks,” a company for dementia care. She conducts speaking and training seminars to teach caregivers and seniors about Alzheimer’s Disease and provides coping strategies. She also created a website that serves as a social support platform for these caregiving acitivities via an educational platform like, “Dementia Chat” to help caregivers and provide better understanding for what these individuals are coping with (Botek, n.d.).
Social entrepreneurs engage in entrepreneurial activities with the goal of fulfilling a social mission. Researchers evaluate social entrepreneurs care is both a goal and a process. They propose that social entrepreneurs care about specific issues or specific people and they feel a broader responsibility to take care of the majority of people who need care (André & Pache, 2016). For example, Anita Darden Gardyne, an ambitious woman, who is turning in 50 years old, has also been caring for her aging mother and children as an ongoing part of her daily routine. She turned to her village to successfully grow a business as well as care for her family. She created a technology company, Onēva, focused on family care. It is a technology platform that improves well-being of caregivers, customers and businesses (Gardyne, 2020; Oneva, n.d.).
Research data which include an estimated 30+ years old caregiver participants indicated that participants consider stroke clubs as a key opportunity to share experiences, and as an informal route to obtaining practical information and emotional support. A caregiver reported that she ‘couldn’t cope without the stroke club, and the friends she have gained’ since the other members of the clubs share some of the associated difficulties resulting from stroke. Similarly, another caregiver participant joined the process of taking over the running of the stroke clubs to provide wider social benefit (Heyworth-Thomas et al., 2019).

Thus, caregivers could more focus on social enterprise roles to provide community support.
Caregivers might be at a young age and they might also be interested in starting a business at the following time with a wider social benefit but it hasn’t been found a specific research study or data on young social entrepreneurs who are caregivers. The data found shows that the entrepreneurs who have previous caregiving roles are more likely to start their entrepreneurship roles after 25 years old. One of the potential explanations for this might be because young people have limited financial sources, lack of support and experience so it might be a good idea to support them and offer social entrepreneurship training to this vulnerable group.

André, K., & Pache, A. C. (2016). From caring entrepreneur to caring enterprise: Addressing the ethical challenges of scaling up social enterprises. Journal of Business Ethics, 133(4), 659-675.
Botek, A. (n.d.). Trial By Fire: Caregiving Forges A New Breed of Entrepreneur. Aging Care.

Gardyne, A. D. (2020, December 25). How I started my business while also being my family’s

caregiver. Hermoney.

Heyworth-Thomas, E. M., & Jones, R. (2019). Social enterprise: bridging the gap between the
statutory and third sector. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 20(2), 80-89.
Oneva (n.d.).
Yamini, R., Soloveva, D., & Peng, X. (2020). What inspires social entrepreneurship? The role of prosocial motivation, intrinsic motivation, and gender in forming social entrepreneurial intention. Entrepreneurship Research Journal.

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