What is Social Entrepreneurship?

As people’s trust in large corporation wanes, the need to connect with businesses is growing. So what is social entrepreneurship all about? On a basic level, the social entrepreneur uses business solutions to make a positive impact on the community and solve social problems. They may have a positive business mission that they are trying to live up to.

Characteristics of a social entrepreneur:
• Identifies social problems. A social entrepreneur has recognized something that is wrong in their community, and has come up with a practical way to make a change for the better. Identifying that initial problem is an important part of social entrepreneurship.

• Belief in their mission. They truly believe in the path that they are going about to solve the problems that they have identified. This makes them much more likely to find success in their business, since they believe in what they are doing on a daily basis.

• Large scale change. Because social entrepreneurship implements for-profit business solutions to a problem, they can also make large scale changes to systems, not just local results.

• Value driven. Since they are trying to solve social problems, business practices are often value driven instead of profit driven. That being said, the larger the profits the more change that can take place, so making money is not pushed under the rug. It just isn’t always the end goal.

• Creative. Since they are often trying to solve problems that have been around for a long time, they often have to take creative approaches and try new solutions to solve these issues. An idea might seem wacky or far-reaching at first, but if it is built around a solid business base, that idea starts to seem much more viable.

• Hard-working. A social entrepreneur is not afraid to devote real time and energy to the project. Because they believe in the mission of their company, they are much more likely to devote large portions of their time and energy to that business and making a change. As long as they continue to do real good, they are less likely to burn out, and more likely to do good work at their daily job.

• Resourceful. They take advantage of things around them and make it work. This can be people, it can be money, it can be actual hard resources. Sometimes business leaders forget about economizing and making do with what they have on hand, but it is a common trait amongst successful entrepreneurs.

Social responsibility is important, and has started to impact our corporate culture as well as our personal lives. Social entrepreneurs are combining those two issues, and turning their work lives into something that makes a real difference in the community and the world around them.