Social entrepreneurship is defined as the drive for positive social transformation and innovative social solutions. It is most commonly practiced in the fields of health, education, environment and small business development. Social entrepreneurs use standard business goals and methods to build strong and sustainable organizations that innovate and overcome various social problems.

What It’s All About

Social-driven entrepreneurship is about creating and applying practical systems and approaches that benefit society in general or specific groups, such as the disenfranchised poor or marginalized minorities. Social entrepreneurs are very different from the rest of the business crowd because they are usually well-meaning people who dedicate themselves to fighting for social justice and improvement. It is a term that encompasses unique approaches to historically challenging social and economic problems.

These interdisciplinary approaches usually cut across sectors to achieve success, but they also grounded in certain values and processes that are embraced by most social entrepreneurs. These include the areas of health, education, agriculture, the environment, welfare reform, human rights, economic development and workers’ rights. Social-driven entrepreneurship focuses on creating local resources through empowering local people to mobilize their own human, financial and political resources.

Common Goals

The most ambitious goal of the community based entrepreneurship movement is to achieve systemic and sustainable social change through the rigorous application of known technologies and business strategies. Social entrepreneurs first focus on the creation of social and ecological value before they focus on maximizing the financial value creation.
Social entrepreneurs strive to innovate new products, services or approaches that solve social problems while creating revenue.

A good example of this is microloan programs in developing countries for impoverished people with sound business ideas. Social entrepreneurs continuously refine and adapt their approaches in response to feedback in order to remain current and receptive to social changes. Some social entrepreneurs primarily focus on raising awareness about certain global issues, such as deforestation or desertification. Social entrepreneurs are intensely focused and hard-driving in their pursuit of a better social vision.

Common Characteristics

Social entrepreneurs are very ambitious because they tackle major social issues that assigned government agencies struggled to handle. For example, they may create a small business program to combat on rural poverty, or they may try to increase the college enrollment rate of minority students. Social entrepreneurs create, develop and manage all kinds of organizations, such as innovative non-profits, social-purpose programs and hybrid organizations that combined elements of non-profit and for-profit organizations.

Social entrepreneurs are driven by a collective mission of generating social value instead of just wealth. Money creation is a part of the process, but the ultimate goal is still promoting systemic social change. Social entrepreneurs focus on niche markets and leverage viable commercial strategies to improve current systems and create new approaches that generate social value. Social entrepreneurs pave avenues of success for individuals who lack opportunities and financial resources.

Social entrepreneurship is a growing movement of social entrepreneurs who are society’s change agents and creators of innovations. Forbes magazine offers an introduction to successful social entrepreneurs here.

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