3 Examples of Social Entrepreneurship in Education

Growing up, my mum drilled it into me that education was important. In hindsight, I appreciate her efforts because it helped me learn new things and become the man I am today. So because education is important in the lives of children, today let’s look at 3 examples of education-related social entrepreneurship and the successful entrepreneurs who started them:

1. Social Entrepreneurship in Education at Mycelium School

Atlas, it's time for your bath [Photo by woodleywonderworks] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Mycelium school, planned for Asheville, NC, will incorporate social entrepreneurship in education in an innovative way. The school will use hands-on learning, community service and a social entrepreneurship-based curriculum to help students build self-reliance and confidence.

CEO and founder Matt Abrams says that he school is designed as a meeting place for people around the world who want to realize change in their local communities. The school is named after the vegetative part of a fungus, the mycelium, through which it absorbs nutrients from the environment as it grows.

This also describes the model of learning at the school, where students can come together and give to their environment and each other, while learning skills and nurturing their own personal growth. Other ecological concepts, such as diversity, integration and systems-thinking, will serve as a backbone for the new school model.

2. Social Entrepreneurship in Education in India

Dr. Madhav Chavan, CEO of Pratham and a 2011 Skoll Award recipient, heads the largest NGO working to provide quality education to underprivileged children in India. Chavan’s application of social entrepreneurship in education began in 1994, when Pratham was established to provide education to the children in the slums of Mumbai.

The organization has grown in scope and geography since that time, and today it’s transforming India’s approach to children’s literacy and education. Chavan’s unwavering insistence on universal education and his work to engage community volunteers has already reached over 34 million children, and offers a proven model that can work anywhere in the world.

The original thought that led to the formation of Pratham came from UNICEF in Mumbai. They set up the Bombay Education Initiative to create a partnership between government, business, and civil society to address the gap of primary education in Mumbai.

3. Social Entrepreneurship in Education Book

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia [Photo by One Laptop per Child] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The book Social Entrepreneurship in Education: Private Ventures for the Public Good (New Frontiers in Education) by Michael R. Sandler, chronicles the 25 year history of entrepreneurs who have helped to launch a for-profit education industry in the US.

It tells the story of these education pioneers and the lessons they have learned along the way, as they used entrepreneurial skills to tackle the public problems of a failing educational system and improve outcomes for millions of students.

The book demonstrates through many case studies the importance of mentorship and the profiles of individuals behind the businesses. By highlighting the skills and characteristics they share to successfully execute and operate social enterprises in education, it reflects on the development of a rapidly growing industry and points to new possibilities for applying private-sector concepts to education. The book is a must-read for those who want to become successful entrepreneurs and understand the use of social enterprise to improve American education.

6 Steps for Making Tough Decisions

Julian Schratter By Ryan Abel [Photo by Ryan Abel] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Often we reach a crossroads in our life – whether in our personal or professional life. A passionate entrepreneur recently got in touch with me asking for help in making a tough decision in his life and how this will impact him with his business management. What are the 6 steps for making tough decisions that I shared?

Asking For Help is Sometimes a Good Start

A young social entrepreneur from the United States recently got in contact with me, asking about a major decision that was troubling him. He was having difficulty figuring out what was the best way to get experience and learn social entrepreneurship.

He’s an intelligent guy and very driven. He’s already studied formal entreprenuership courses and has already hlped to start up a nonprofit that works between the United States and Latin America. I would say he actually knows and has DONE more than alot of other people already.

What was bother him though, was that he wanted to make the most of his summer break. How can he make the most of his time in order to get ahead in his social entrepreneurial career?

A Process for Decision-Making?

I don’t want to get into the specifics with what we spoke about out of respect for him. Although, what I did share with him that I think should also be shared with you is the thinking process that I regularly use for making those big, hairy decisions that often rack your brain, and keep you up at night.

I actually first learnt this decision-making process from Tony Robbins’ time management program called “The Time of Your Life.” So credit does go to him. This is my interpretation of it and how I use it to make decision, and here are the steps:


Figure out what is your overall outcome in all this. What is is that you ultimately want? experience? networks? impact? Prioritise your outcomes.


Figure out what are your options so far. Write them down


Think about the likely conseuqences of your options(both +ve and negative consequences)


Eliminate the options which totally go against your outcomes. Eliminate the options until you have about 2 or 3 top options left


From your final options, try and mitigate the best option so that you can somehow include ALL your outcomes in your best option. What can you add to your best option so that it can be even more awesome to reach your ultimate outcomes?


Resolve on your final decision and take action

Using a pen and paper can help as you go through these steps. This decision-making process can be used for making hard decisions in your personal and professional life as I have done so many times.

For Social Entrepreneurs Who Are Stuck!

a dilemma [Photo by Julia Manzerova] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

For those of you who are making hard decisions about how to move forward with learning and applying social entrepreneurship , I would advise this – Overall, I would personally try and get in close contact with a successful social entrepreneur to work under their wing. The closer you can work with them the better.

I would also suggest a social entrepreneur/organization closely aligned to what you want to work in for the future. This is the only way you will retain a positive business management strategy. If you can’t do this, try and read as much as you can as possible about social entrepreneurs and start ups that have changed the world. It can be both inspiring and eye-opening, and your perspective about what is possible will often be changed dramatically by learning from role models.

3 Examples of Social Entrepreneurship

For those of you who have just recently come across the idea of social entrepreneurship, and have created new business ideas, you may be wondering what are some examples of social entrepreneurship. There are a range of various social entrepreneurs, from those that startup nonprofits that use business methods to for-profits that have a social mission. Here are just 3 different examples of social entrepreneurship across countries & sectors.

1. Examples of Social Entrepreneurship in India

Vision Of Eyechart With Glasses [Photo by kenteegardin] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Examples of social entrepreneurship in India include the Aravind Eye Hospital & Aurolab. This organization, founded by social entrepreneurs Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy (Dr. V) and David Green is located in Madurai, India. It’s mission is to make medical technology and health care services accessible, affordable and financially self-sustaining.

Founded in 1976 by Dr. V, Aravind Eye Care System is today the largest and most productive eye care facility in the world. From April 2007 to March 2008, about 2.4 million people in India have received outpatient eye care and surgeries through this organization.

Another well known example of Indian social enterprise is SKS India. This for-profit company empowers the poor to become self-reliant through affordable loans. SKS believes that access to basic financial services can significantly increase economic opportunities for poor families and help them to improve their lives.

2. Fair Trade Organizations as Examples of Social Entrepreneurship

Fair trade organizations are some of the best examples of social entrepreneurship. Among the recent trends towards ethical and sustainable consumption, the development of fair trade is one of the fastest and most promising initiatives.

Fair trade pioneers have primarily come from Third Sector organizations, from both nonprofits and coops. Most recently, though, the fair trade landscape has become far more diverse and includes many for-profit and hybrid firms that are active in the import and distribution of fairly traded goods.

Fair trade is thus evolving into a mixed-form market, where old and new organizational forms are coexisting and combining economic, social and political goals in fascinating new ways. The nature of fair trade has led to the labeling of fair trade organizations as social enterprises, but there is a real question as to how accurate this label is. The answer depends on how a given FTO combines economic, social and political goals, and which types of stakeholders are involved in the decision-making processes.

3. Famous Examples of Social Entrepreneurship

Teaching eye care [Photo by 4Cheungs] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Some famous social entrepreneurship examples include The Big Issue, the Eden Project and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen. Other award-winners include Divine Chocolate , a fair trade chocolate company co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo farmer coop in Ghana, and Women Like Us, which connects women with flexible employment.

This goes to show that social enterprise cover a huge range of industries. For example, Cafedirect is the UK’s largest fair trade hot drinks company, while the Elvis & Kresse Organization (EaKo) takes industrial waste materials and turns them into stylish luggage and hand bags.

They then donate 50% of the profits to the Fire Fighters Charity. Hill Holt wood educates at-risk youth in an ancient woodland, while Central Surrey Health is a pioneering social enterprise in the health care arena which is run by the nursing and therapy teams it employs. From this, you can tell that there are many ways of getting inspired with new business ideas.

3 Social Entrepreneurship Australia Examples

I’m Australian myself – grew up there, studied there and have family there. So that’s why I really care alot for the place and its wellbeing. Social entrepreneurship in Australia is pretty much in its infancy there, but here are 3 examples of how social entrepreneurship is coming alive down under and new emerging successful entrepreneurs from Australia are just the beginning.

1. Investment for Social Entrepreneurship Australia

The Widowmaker [Photo by aussiegall] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Social Ventures Australia (SVA) was established in 2002 as an independent, nonprofit organization that invests in social entrepreneurship Australia.

By helping to increase the impact and build the sustainability of those in the social sector, the organization seeks to impact social change. SVA’s investments are focused on organizations that show high potential for delivering solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the country.

They provide not only funding but also strategic support to their carefully selected nonprofit partners, in addition to offering consulting services to the social sector at large. SVA believes that major bottlenecks currently exist in the social sector which are preventing the achievement of effective social change.

The are focused on solutions to lift the education and employment participation levels as the most effective foundation for achieving breakthrough change in disadvantaged communities.

2. Hub for Social Entrepreneurship Australia

Sustained.com.au is an online hub for social entrepreneurship Australia. Some exciting developments in 2010 have led to the expansion of this knowledge center on sustainability and innovation, in order to provide more inspiration to help businesses towards a sustainable future.

Sustained was launched in 2007, and since that time there have been some dramatic changes into web and online news worlds. Social networking has grown to be a mainstay in our daily lives, and people are consuming more news, debating and networking online, and watching TV online as well.

In response to these developments, Sustained.com changed the format of their newsletter and website. News remains a cornerstone of the site, but there is lots of additional content from authors and journalists around the world in the form of ebooks, newsletters and audio and video clips as well.

[Update: I recently visited the sustained.com.au website, and unfortunately it seems that it is now down!!?? Perhaps they are temporarily down or not, I’m not sure. Continue to try and check it out.]

3. Young Social Entrepreneurship Australia

Social entrepreneurship Australia is being driven by an increasing number of disillusioned young people who are looking for alternatives to corporate Australia. A good example of this trend is the popularity of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), a nonprofit that aims to develop community-focused businesses.

It won the inaugural Macquarie Social Innovation Award for 2010. The organization has been given a $100,000 grant as part of its prize, and six students have been selected to receive $10,000 each to develop their own social enterprises. Benny Callaghan, CEO of the SSE, said that the sector is finally being taken seriously by investors and big business.

Although its still early in the sector’s development, a lot of larger firms now see social enterprise and successful entrepreneurs as an important area. That’s because a growing number of talented people are leaving the corporate world to start their own social enterprises.

3 Examples of Social Enterprise in Pakistan

Often it’s useful to learn about successful social enterprises as role models for your own ideas. If you are thinking about what business to start, here are 3 social enterprise ideas from Pakistan, a country in South Asia, nearby Afghanistan and India.

1. YES Social Enterprise in Pakistan

Run Run Run [Photo by Umair Mohsin] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Youth Engagement Services (YES) is a network dedicated to funding social enterprise in Pakistan. Specifically, YES looks to fund micro social enterprises which are created and run by disadvantaged youth in the country.

The goal is to turn alienated young people into socially engaged entrepreneurs who are active in their communities, with a vested interest in working for positive development. Most of the population of Pakistan is currently age 30 or younger, so reaching out to this sector of the society is crucial to the future of the country.

Pakistan currently lacks enough support services to help these young people develop their potential and contribute to their communities in positive ways. YES network reaches out to young people with a focus on ways they can contribute to economic growth in the country, which in turn lowers rates of violence and terrorism.

2. Kashf Pakistan Microfinance

Kashf means “miracle” or “revelation” in the native language of Pakistan. The Kashf Foundation began operating in 1996 in the area of Pakistan microfinance in order to aid the poor women living in the Lahore area. The first round of microcredit from Kashf was given out to 15 women who used it to start up small businesses which generated income for themselves and their families.

Since that time, the client base of Kashf has expanded rapidly and currently reaches over 60,000. They continue to focus on the unique needs of women in Pakistan via a unique economic empowerment program which includes both financial assistance and non financial services as well.

The foundation operates in a sustainable manner and has developed a reputation as one of the top microfinance funders in the country.

3. Jassar Farms Social Business in Pakistan

Pashtun Kids [Photo by colinroots] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Jassar Farms is a social business in Pakistan founded by a graduate of one of the most elite universities in the country. Shahzad Iqbal quit his job in banking to move to a small village in Narowal and get into the dairy farming business.

He focused his years of business school training on his new business and organized Jassar Farms into a corporate structure and found ways of increasing the average milk yield of each of his cows. The average milk yield of cows in Pakistan is 4 liters of milk daily, which is far lower than the average of 33 liters per day produced by cows in developed countries.

Rather than paying thousands of dollars per cow to import them from the US or Australia, Shahzad began using artificial insemination to crossbreed elite bulls with local cows. Hopefully, these examples of businesses have given you some food for thought when you reflect on what business to start.