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  1. People also ask

    What makes someone a social entrepreneur?

    How do I became a social entrepreneur?

    Why to be a social entrepreneur?

    Why do people become social entrepreneurs?

  2. Apr 24, 2021 · A social entrepreneur is a person who pursues an innovative idea with the potential to solve a community problem.

    • Starting with Entrepreneurship
    • Entrepreneurial Context
    • Entrepreneurial Characteristics
    • Entrepreneurial Outcome
    • Shift to Social Entrepreneurship
    • Boundaries of Social Entrepreneurship
    • Shades of Gray
    • Why Should We Care?

    Any definition of the term “social entrepreneurship” must start with the word “entrepreneurship.” The word “social” simply modifies entrepreneurship. If entrepreneurship doesn’t have a clear meaning, then modifying it with social won’t accomplish much, either. The word entrepreneurship is a mixed blessing. On the positive side, it connotes a special, innate ability to sense and act on opportunity, combining out-of-the-box thinking with a unique brand of determination to create or bring about something new to the world. On the negative side, entrepreneurship is an ex post term, because entrepreneurial activities require a passage of time before their true impact is evident. Interestingly, we don’t call someone who exhibits all of the personal characteristics of an entrepreneur – opportunity sensing, out-of-the-box thinking, and determination – yet who failed miserably in his or her venture an entrepreneur; we call him or her a business failure. Even someone like Bob Young, of Red Hat...

    The starting point for entrepreneurship is what we call an entrepreneurial context. For Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the entrepreneurial context was a computing system in which users were dependent on mainframe computers controlled by a central IT staff who guarded the mainframe like a shrine. Users got their computing tasks done, but only after waiting in line and using the software designed by the IT staff. If users wanted a software program to do something out of the ordinary, they were told to wait six months for the programming to be done. From the users’ perspective, the experience was inefficient and unsatisfactory. But since the centralized computing model was the only one available, users put up with it and built the delays and inefficiencies into their workflow, resulting in an equilibrium, albeit an unsatisfactory one. System dynamicists describe this kind of equilibrium as a “balanced feedback loop,” because there isn’t a strong force that has the likely effect of break...

    The entrepreneur is attracted to this suboptimal equilibrium, seeing embedded in it an opportunity to provide a new solution, product, service, or process. The reason that the entrepreneur sees this condition as an opportunity to create something new, while so many others see it as an inconvenience to be tolerated, stems from the unique set of personal characteristics he or she brings to the situation – inspiration, creativity, direct action, courage, and fortitude. These characteristics are fundamental to the process of innovation. The entrepreneur is inspiredto alter the unpleasant equilibrium. Entrepreneurs might be motivated to do this because they are frustrated users or because they empathize with frustrated users. Sometimes entrepreneurs are so gripped by the opportunity to change things that they possess a burning desire to demolish the status quo. In the case of eBay, the frustrated user was Omidyar’s girlfriend, who collected Pez dispensers. The entrepreneur thinks creativ...

    What happens when an entrepreneur successfully brings his or her personal characteristics to bear on a suboptimal equilibrium? He or she creates a new stable equilibrium, one that provides a meaningfully higher level of satisfaction for the participants in the system. To elaborate on Say’s original insight, the entrepreneur engineers a permanent shift from a lower-quality equilibrium to a higher-quality one. The new equilibrium is permanent because it first survives and then stabilizes, even though some aspects of the original equilibrium may persist (e.g., expensive and less-efficient courier systems, garage sales, and the like). Its survival and success ultimately move beyond the entrepreneur and the original entrepreneurial venture. It is through mass-market adoption, significant levels of imitation, and the creation of an ecosystem around and within the new equilibrium that it first stabilizes and then securely persists. When Jobs and Wozniak created the personal computer they d...

    If these are the key components of entrepreneurship, what distinguishes social entrepreneurship from its for-profit cousin? First, we believe that the most useful and informative way to define social entrepreneurship is to establish its congruence with entrepreneurship, seeing social entrepreneurship as grounded in these same three elements. Anything else is confusing and unhelpful. To understand what differentiates the two sets of entrepreneurs from one another, it is important to dispel the notion that the difference can be ascribed simply to motivation – with entrepreneurs spurred on by money and social entrepreneurs driven by altruism. The truth is that entrepreneurs are rarely motivated by the prospect of financial gain, because the odds of making lots of money are clearly stacked against them. Instead, both the entrepreneur and the social entrepreneur are strongly motivated by the opportunity they identify, pursuing that vision relentlessly, and deriving considerable psychic r...

    In defining social entrepreneurship, it is also important to establish boundaries and provide examples of activities that may be highly meritorious but do not fit our definition. Failing to identify boundaries would leave the term social entrepreneurship so wide open as to be essentially meaningless. There are two primary forms of socially valuable activity that we believe need to be distinguished from social entrepreneurship. The first type of social venture is social service provision. In this case, a courageous and committed individual identifies an unfortunate stable equilibrium – AIDS orphans in Africa, for example – and sets up a program to address it – for example, a school for the children to ensure that they are cared for and educated. The new school would certainly help the children it serves and may very well enable some of them to break free from poverty and transform their lives. But unless it is designed to achieve large scale or is so compelling as to launch legions o...

    Having created a definition of social entrepreneurship and distinguished it from social service provision and social activism, we should recognize that in practice, many social actors incorporate strategies associated with these pure forms or create hybridmodels. The three definitions can be seen in their pure forms in the diagram to the right. In the pure form, the successful social entrepreneur takes direct action and generates a new and sustained equilibrium; the social activist influences others to generate a new and sustained equilibrium; and the social service provider takes direct action to improve the outcomes of the current equilibrium. It is important to distinguish between these types of social ventures in their pure forms, but in the real world there are probably more hybrid models than pure forms. It is arguable that Yunus, for example, used social activism to accelerate and amplify the impact of Grameen Bank, a classic example of social entrepreneurship. By using a seq...

    Long shunned by economists, whose interests have gravitated toward market-based, price-driven models that submit more readily to data-driven interpretation, entrepreneurship has experienced something of a renaissance of interest in recent years. Building on the foundation laid by Schumpeter, William Baumol and a handful of other scholars have sought to restore the entrepreneur’s rightful place in “production and distribution” theory, demonstrating in that process the seminal role of entrepreneurship.6 According to Carl Schramm, CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, entrepreneurs, “despite being overlooked or explicitly written out of our economic drama,”7are the free enterprise system’s essential ingredient and absolutely indispensable to market economies. We are concerned that serious thinkers will also overlook social entrepreneurship, and we fear that the indiscriminate use of the term may undermine its significance and potential importance to those seeking to understand h...

    • What Is Social Entrepreneurship?
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    Before we jump into a list of some of our favorite social entrepreneurs, it’s worth a brief mention of what social entrepreneurship is in the first place. Social entrepreneurship, as a movement and as a term, is moving aggressively into the mainstream. And with this rise in popularity, more and more change agents are racing to the scene, as well as racing to define what social entrepreneurship is and who social entrepreneurs are. In brief, social entrepreneurs are business people who use their business to create social value. These do-gooders are not funneled into the public sector, but in fact make up an increasing portion of the private sector. In addition to earning a profit, and equally if not more importantly, their businesses respond to social issues or social needs they see in the world around them. When the status quo isn’t good enough, these change-makers take action and show us (and the world) that when businesses understand social value creation as central to their compan...

    1. Alex Husted, Founder & CEO of Helpsy, On the Consumer’s Role in the Sustainable Future of Fashion

    As informed by Alex and the Helpsy team, 95% of all clothing, shoes and other textiles can be given a second life. Sadly, over 85% just ends up in the trash! In our podcast recording, Alex dove deeper into this issue, reducing, reusing, and recycling textiles and clothing, and explained how the consumer can and should be making an impact on this massive waste issue. Want to hear more from Alex on Helpy’s vision for a sustainable future of fashion? Listen here.

    2. Manish Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO of Matr Boomie, on Empowering Communities Through Trade

    Manish Gupta and the Matr Boomie team have been able to connect and empower over 20,000 artisans in 40 partner communities in India since their founding in 2006. It was Manish’s goal in starting Matr Boomie to use the power of trade to empower these Indian communities, provide them with resources and sustainable living, and hopefully, move the needle on lifting many of these communities out of chronic poverty. To hear more from Manish about Matr Boomie and their continued mission to empower I...

    3. Hannah Davis, Founder & President of BANGS Shoes, on Advice for the First Year Social Entrepreneur

    Hannah Davis’ and the BANGS Shoes team sell shoes to invest in entrepreneurs all over the world. And this was the mission that Hannah set out with when starting BANGS shortly after starting college. A young entrepreneur, the start of her company seemed to revolve around all hustle, with little of the “success” she was seeking. However, with some significant personal development and key turning points, the growth of BANGS completely changed with BANGS now getting closer to a decade old, Hannah...

    6. Allison Gibson, from Paintbox Catering & Bistro, on a B Corporation Business Culture that Puts its People First

    I first connected with Allison at the 2018 B Corporation Champions Retreatin New Orleans. From the moment we met, it was wildly clear Allison had a passion both for the work she did and the community she and the Paintbox team had cultivated in Regent Park, a historically disadvantaged neighborhood in Toronto. Allison was generous enough to join me for a recording to talk more about this culture at Paintbox, with a specific example of how that culture allowed her to lean on her team when she h...

    7. Yoni Medhin, CEO of Grain4Grain, on the Desire to “Give Back” with Business

    Almost serendipitously, Yoni and I connected at a local farmer’s market here in San Antonio. Using his spent grain pancake mix, Yoni was flipping cakes for passers by, and I, a sucker for a good “one for one” model (and a free pancake), was drawn to hear more about their work. This struck a friendship and an ensuing podcast interview from the comfort of my San Antonio living room, where Yoni shared with me his motivations and values in starting Grain4Grain with his friend and business partner...

    8. Paul Hargreaves, CEO of Cotswold Fayre, on the Only Reason to be “in Business”

    Paul Hargreaves is a leader and staunch advocate within the certified B Corporation community in the UK and Europe. In March of 2019, Paul published his book, Forces for Good: Creating a better world through purpose-driven businesses. In it his book and our interview he elaborated on his journey through purpose-driven business, from starting a nonprofit organizationin inner-city London to now leading Cotswold Fayre, one of the founding B Corporations in the UK and leading specialty food and d...

    13. Thomas Querton, CEO & Co-Founder of AtlasGo, on Why You Don’t Need All the Answers

    Thomas Querton is a young, hungry entrepreneur from Belgium, now based in San Francisco, CA working with the AtlasGo team as they cultivate a community of ‘sweaty change-makers.’ In our recording, Thomas shared a lot of wisdom, despite his relatively recent development into an entrepreneur. He discussed the importance of having a clear focus, strategy, and taking time away to analyze successes/failures, as well as the truly critical component of reminding yourself you don’t need all the answe...

    14. Kate Jakubas, Founder of Meliora Cleaning Products, On Business as a Tool to Solve Social & Environmental Problems

    Kate Jakubas is an environmental engineer by trade. Growing up as one of the kids who had a “rock collection” instead of a lemonade stand (as she put it), she hadn’t considered herself at any point destined to be a business person. However, with her care for the environment and her engineering drive to solve problems, she became inspired to determine what potential toxic and environmentally harmful chemicals she could remove from her own personal consumption. This then turned her onto househo...

    15. Dave Spandorfer, CEO of Janji, On Using Running to Start a Business that Affects Positive Change

    Dave Co-Founded Janji in 2012 when he was a college student with one of his teammates on the cross country team. Reflecting on the fulfillment each of these two had received from the sport of running, they wanted to start a business that kept them connected with the sport and shared the joy they’ve received from it with others. With the risks involved in starting a business, both Dave and his Co-Founder believed they might as well do something bigger to make it worth it: make an impact. They...

    26. Tim Lara, Owner of Hawaiian Paddle Sports, on How Guides Can Turn Tourists into Advocates

    Tim Lara is the Owner of Hawaiian Paddle Sports, an Eco-Tour certified B Corporation located on the island of Maui. Tim has a tremendous passion and respect for the natural life, and culture of Maui as well as an engine that just won’t stop. Tim listed the many activities he’s involved himself in, in Maui, in our podcast, as well, he shared what seems to be both an opportunity and duty for his guides as they take visitors on tours of the natural areas in Maui. To hear more from Tim on running...

    27. Adrianne Chandra-Huff, of Bodhi Surf + Yoga on the Need for Environmental Stewardship in the Tourism Industry

    Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a certified B Corporationbased in Uvita, Costa Rica. They teach their guests how to surf, practice yoga, and help them learn about their local area in Costa Rica. Adrianne, who I connected with at the B Corporation Champions Retreat in 2018, joined me for an episode where she shared the trajectory of Bodhi’s growth and evolution as a model for sustainable tourism, and her understanding of the obligation all businesses in the tourism industry have to mind and preserve the...

    28. Russ Stoddard, Founder of Oliver Russell, on Success in Social Entrepreneurship & the Sense of Urgency to Do Good

    I first came across Russ through his book, Rise Up: How to Build a Socially Conscious Business, where he introduces the concept of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship. In late 2018, I visited Russ at his office in Boise, Idaho for a podcast recording. Russ’ wisdom, generosity, and advocacy for the sustainable and social business model shined throughout our chat. Russ explained why a positive impact is more appropriate compensation than just a paycheck and shared how he manages his e...

    29. Jessica Kellner, from Bark Media, on Building Community & Support Around Your Organization Through Authentic Storytelling

    I briefly connected with Jessica at my first B Corporation Champions Retreat in New Orleans. Jessica and other folks from leadership on the Bark Media team hosted a wonderfully insightful breakout session where they shared strategies for other B Corporations to get started telling their own stories and collaborate with others in the B Corp community to do so. Luckily for us, following this social impact conferenceJessica joined me for an early episode of the podcast. Jessica dove deeper into...

    30. Chris Hutchinson, CEO of the Trebuchet Group, on the Rewards of Personal Development

    My conversation with Chris was inspiring—a true example of a self-aware, reflective leader. Chris and the Trebuchet Group are deeply committed to personal development and expanding the leadership capacities of individuals and organizations and that came through in our recording. We talked about leaders who create other leaders, the self-awareness that’s required to be a leader, and Chris’ experience writing his complete leadership “playbook,” Ripple: A Field Manual for Leadership that Works....

    45. Bernie Geiss, Founder of Cove Continuity Advisors, on a Philosophical Alignment that Led Him to the B Corp Movement

    Bernie Geiss is the Founder of Cove Continuity Advisors, an award-winning financial services firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Before getting into financial services, Bernie spent multiple years traveling the world and learning, practicing meditation and yoga. It was those deeply impactful experiences that Bernie brought with him into his approach to starting his own business. With enough time, it seemed fitting that Bernie played an extremely active role in B.C.’s passing of the ben...

    46. Doug Lessing, Founder of Phin, On Using Unstructured Time to Create Flow

    Doug Lessing is the Founder of Phin, a soon-to-be Certified B Corporation startup that connects great companies with great people and causes. Doug opted to take the social entrepreneurial leap, leaving a company he “grew up in” to build a startup with social good at its core. The impetus for this startup, Phin, came from something of a sabbatical that Doug took as a moment away from his previous job to create space and time to think and process what his next career move might be. It’s this pr...

    47. Austin Buchan, CEO of College Forward, Listening & Responding to Feedback to Scale Impact in the Nonprofit Sector

    College Forward is a nonprofit in Austin, Texas that helps what would be first-generation college students get to and through college. Joining CEO (and my brother-in-law) Austin Buchan in the College Forward office for a recording, Austin reflected on how College Forward has been able to develop the powerful programming for students that they have (through what would now be called Human-Centered Design). He also got into how College Forward is taking that intimate understanding of what their...

    48. James Christie, Founder of SustainableUX, Footprints in the Digital World & Taking Passion Projects to Full Blown Enterprises

    James Christie Founded Sustainable UX in 2016 with the hopes that this online conference “for UX, front-end, and product people who want to make a positive impact—on climate change, social equality, and inclusion” would attract 40 visitors. It brought 400 to attendance. Since then, Christie knew this topic had concern and traction, and alongside his full-time work as a Director of UX with Mad*Pow, Christie and his SustainableUX team have continued the conference drawing over 1,000 attendees o...

    49. Yasmine Mustafa, CEO of ROAR for Good, on the Power of Personal Stories to Forge Persistence

    Yasmine Mustafa is a wildly talented and inspirational social entrepreneur. Being forced to flee Kuwait with her family to the U.S. during the Gulf War, Yasmine’s determination has led her through challenge after challenge. Whether it was completing Temple’s social entrepreneurship program while working two part-time jobs, or now pivoting her company ROAR last year, when faced with product/market fit challenges. Yasmine joined us on the podcast to share what has kept her going with this compa...

    • Sean Peek
    • TOMS. While it wasn’t the first company to explore social issues, TOMS is arguably the brand that popularized social entrepreneurship over the past decade.
    • Warby Parker. Following TOMS’ success, Warby Parker similarly launched their “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program, which has resulted in the company donating over five million pairs of glasses to people in need as of 2019.
    • FIGS. Founded in 2013 by Heather Hasson and Trina Spear, FIGS is an online retailer that sells medical apparel and accessories to medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses and physician assistants.
    • Love Your Melon. Love Your Melon is a unique social entrepreneurship example because it initially launched as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2012, but transitioned to a for-profit company in 2016.
  3. Feb 13, 2020 · Bill Drayton is recognized as one of the pioneering social entrepreneurs of our time. Drayton founded Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in 1981, which takes a multifaceted approach to finding and...

    • Shoshanna Delventhal
    • Journalist
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