While improving the wellbeing of communities is often a goal for social ventures, the wellbeing of social entrepreneurs is usually neglected. Wellbeing is not just the absence of illness, but a state where individuals can cope with the normal stresses of life, realise their potential, and contribute to their community with a sense of vitality and authenticity. Social entrepreneurs work tirelessly to catalyse positive social change, meet the needs of multiple stakeholders, such as employees, customers, beneficiaries, and partners, and ensure the sustainability of their organisations. This can leave little time for their own wellbeing needs, potentially resulting in burnout. While research on social entrepreneurs’ wellbeing is still emerging, broader research shows the importance of wellbeing for entrepreneurs’ persistence, creativity, and the performance of their organisations.
While many of the reasons that contribute to social entrepreneurs’ ill-being are outside of their control, there are also ways that social entrepreneurs can protect and maintain their own wellbeing through changes in their attitudes, practices, skills, and work.
The “Doing Good / Staying Well” toolkit provides social entrepreneurs with tools to reflect, plan, and make changes to maintain and protect their wellbeing, which can ultimately lead to sustainable social ventures that catalyse positive social change.
This toolkit was co-created with social entrepreneurs in Malaysia and Cambodia. At the core of the toolkit are the needs, experiences, lessons learnt, and practices shared, curated and developed by social entrepreneurs who have engaged in the social entrepreneurship journey. These insights were supplemented by additional empirical evidence and academic frameworks to make the toolkit more robust and account for diversity of experiences and needs. The toolkit has been used by individual social entrepreneurs in their own learning and development as well as by collectives of social entrepreneurs enrolled in cohort-based wellbeing programmes.