What Is a Social Entrepreneur?

This is a little long…but hopefully worthwhile. From what I have observed in the passionate dedicated people I’ve met in the nonprofit world is a special “attitude.” I really couldn’t put my finger on it, until I came across this article entitled “What is a Social Entrepreneur?”  So whether your mission is socks for the homeless, multiple sclerosis or juvenile diabetes I think this article really sums up the spirit of those involved in the nonprofit world.

What do you think?

What Is a Social Entrepreneur?
“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”
Bill Drayton, CEO, chair and founder of Ashoka, a global nonprofit organization devoted to developing the profession of social entrepreneurship

Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss and improving systems, inventing new approaches and creating sustainable solutions to change society for the better. However, unlike business entrepreneurs who are motivated by profits, social entrepreneurs are motivated to improve society. Despite this difference, social entrepreneurs are just as innovative and change oriented as their business counterparts, searching for new and better ways to solve the problems that plague society.

Social entrepreneurs are:

  • Ambitious: Social entrepreneurs tackle major social issues, from increasing the college enrollment rate of low-income students to fighting poverty in developing countries. These entrepreneurial leaders operate in all kinds of organizations: innovative nonprofits, social purpose ventures such as for-profit community development banks, and hybrid organizations that mix elements of nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
  • Mission driven: Generating social value-not wealth-is the central criterion of a successful social entrepreneur. While wealth creation may be part of the process, it is not an end in itself. Promoting systemic social change is the real objective.
  • Strategic: Like business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs see and act upon what others miss: opportunities to improve systems, create solutions and invent new approaches that create social value. And like the best business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs are intensely focused and hard-driving-even relentless-in their pursuit of a social vision.
  • Resourceful: Because social entrepreneurs operate within a social context rather than the business world, they have limited access to capital and traditional market support systems. As a result, social entrepreneurs must be exceptionally skilled at mustering and mobilizing human, financial and political resources.
  • Results oriented: Ultimately, social entrepreneurs are driven to produce measurable returns. These results transform existing realities, open up new pathways for the marginalized and disadvantaged, and unlock society’s potential to effect social change.

Reprinted courtesy of The Skoll Foundation

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