Just like true crime, news, politics, and culture, business (and its social impact) makes for great audio stories. In fact, for social entrepreneurs seeking motivation, news, mentors, advice, strategies, and inspiration, a robust range of podcasts offers diverse voices and great ideas to educate and inspire like-minded listeners. But it hasn’t always been so. Neetal Parekh, host of the popular The Impact podcast by Innov8social and author of 51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship, says she, like many others interested in social ventures, began by blogging and sending emails with questions to compelling individuals doing inspiring work. From those exchanges, a vibrant community grew and gave rise to dozens of podcasts that reflect the range of issues and personalities in the field.
“Now what I think is really vital is having a specific view — maybe you’re looking at a certain sector within social enterprise, or how someone built up to a certain level in their social enterprise, or you know some specific aspect that someone can learn something from,” she says. “You’ll find the tribe of people that are excited about your particular angle.”
The mission of the social enterprise community and that audience’s interest in growth fuel the content of most social-entrepreneurship podcasts, and the five recommendations below deliver on both. For eager audio content enthusiasts ready to learn more, hear about a great business hack, or join the ever-growing ranks of the global social entrepreneur movement, these podcasts deserve a listen.
Impact Boom has released more than 200 episodes. Each month they release three to four episodes, and each one varies in length from 15 to 40 minutes. Episodes feature one main interview followed by a detailed dissection and reflection on that conversation. A section focused on tips, literature, and resources for aspiring social entrepreneurs ends the segment.
Not-to-miss Episode: Episode #91: “Due Quach On How Brain Hacking Brings Out Your Best Self”
Bonfires of Social Enterprise
One of the aspects that makes Bonfires of Social Enterprise stand out from all the other social entrepreneurship podcasts is that all her interviews are conducted on location. This allows listeners to immerse themselves in each special enterprise’s environment through natural sounds. Kochran balances the laughter and camaraderie of her interviewees with in-depth conversation about the inner workings of their social enterprise and the effect of social entrepreneurship on the local community.
Since the launch of the Bonfires of Social Enterprise in 2015, Kochran has invested a lot of her time and efforts into forming relationships with local entrepreneurs. Throughout the three seasons of her podcast, she has stayed in touch with former guests and given listeners updates on their projects.
As of early June, the podcast is on its 99th episode. Episodes normally last 25 to 40 minutes. Every episode begins with a small segment called “Fun Fuel,” which highlights the historical aspect of a product or business in the U.S., followed by an interview with a social entrepreneur. Then, a segment focused on reflection highlights educational material available to aspiring social entrepreneurs. Each episode ends with Kochran playing a song by a local artist.
Not-to-miss Episode: Season 3, Episode 93: “Kathleen Kelly Janus – Stanford, Book”
Line of Sight
It helps that academics service as the co-hosts of Line of Sight. Thane Kreiner is the director of Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and Don Heider is the chief executive of SCU’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. The podcast delivers a clear thesis that they seek to explore: What is the actual effect of social enterprise, and is there a real change? Most of the guests are young people who face these ethical conundrums as they begin to build their first social enterprise ventures in regions around the world. Other guests include SCU faculty, thinkers, and speakers.
This podcast speaks to social entrepreneurs who find themselves dealing with similar ethical dilemmas as their projects flourish, and it helps them find the answers to the complex questions they are facing such as, ‘How do I navigate communities as an outsider? How do I serve a community of which I am not a part of? How do I go about being more than just a parachute social entrepreneur? How do you make your work have a lasting impact?’
Line of Sight is relatively new, as it launched in December 2019, and, as of early June, offers 11 episodes. The conversation-focused episodes tend to last around 20 to 40 minutes and start with a brief intro by the co-hosts of the featured guest.
Not-to-miss Episode: Episode 2: “Civility and Compassion with Dr. Thomas Plante”
The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Ames presents complex financial jargon in easy-to-understand terms and provides engaging scenarios to highlight the issues listeners could face in their own social enterprise journeys. Ames talks primarily to marketing strategists and financial advisers who deal with the economic and administrative side of social enterprises, teasing out the differences between those and a traditional business. Listeners also get a chance to listen to social entrepreneurs and coaches talk about how they deal with internal crises and work-life balance.
The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation podcast is on its 89th episode. Each episode lasts from 15 to 60 minutes. Not all episodes are interview-based but tend to be more informational — focusing on exploring the different resources available to social entrepreneurs. These also tend to be shorter. Episodes are released weekly, and at the end of every episode, Ames engages with his audience by asking them to send their doubts or suggestions about future aspects of social enterprise to tackle.
Not-to-miss Episode: Episode 42: “Leveraging Adversity for the Greater Good with Social Entrepreneur and CEO of ROAR for Good, Yasmine Mustafa”
The Impact by Innov8Social
Parekh possesses an extensive network of fellow social entrepreneurs. At networking events, Parekh asks her colleagues about their aspirations, current projects, and obstacles. Parekh, then, introduces them to other fellow conference-goers, and their conversations focus on their biggest struggles, which leads them into a constructive discussion about how to tackle their specific issues, whether it be marketing or law.
Her network is older than the podcast, as she’s been building it since her “blog days” and through the “festival circuit” of social enterprise conferences that she attends, which fuels it. The podcast is divided into a small series of episodes and seeks to leverage each workshop and conference for maximum benefit. This mission allows Parekh to offer a 360-degree experience of the workshops, people, and ideas for listeners to gain inspiration and learn from them.
Not-to-miss Episode: Episode 150: “A Primer on Systems-Led Thinking with Daniela Papi-Thornton”
Featured image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.