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What is Social Entrepreneurship?

(A very brief introduction to a very expansive field.)

Social entrepreneurship is a relatively new, rapidly evolving, and somewhat sprawling field. And as a result, it lacks a universal definition. This has made this powerful tool feel inaccessible to the very people who could use it best.

At its core, social entrepreneurship blends the brains of a business with the heart of philanthropy, in order to create profitable business models designed to drive positive social change.

However, social entrepreneurship goes deeper than simply donating a portion of its profits to a cause. It includes creative models such as. . .

How you tackle world poverty with $27. (Grameen Bank)

How you can reduce the rate of recidivism (re-entry into the prison system) with a loaf of bread. (Dave's Killer Bread)

How you can develop healthcare infrastructure through your love of Harleys (Riders for Health).

How you can reinvent capitalism with a pair of shoes. (TOMS Shoes)

How you can disrupt a billion dollar industry to make a necessary product available at affordable prices. (Warby Parker)

How you can turn climate change action into a game by blending behavioral psychology, gamification, and environmental engineering. (Hello World)

How you can reduce the rate of death by diarrhea with a little bit of toilet humor and a great roll of recycled toilet paper. (Who Gives a Crap)

Social entrepreneurship has the potential to completely transform our social and economic landscape. It empowers everyday people with the tools to create economic agency, as well as the capacity to create their own solutions to social and environmental problems that have been ignored, mishandled, and blatantly exploited by traditional institutions.

Social entrepreneurs are a rare breed who refuse to accept traditional metrics of success. They are no longer waiting for governments, corporations, churches, or universities to lead. They flip the script, challenge old assumptions, and move the rest of us beyond our stale and stuck ways of thinking in order to create solutions they wish existed.

Social entrepreneurship has been applied successfully across sectors, fields, industries, countries, and continents. It gives us a model to create solutions quickly, in response to the rapid development of global crises. And it has the potential to completely change the dangerous trajectory we are currently on, in order to unlock human potential, foster economic agency, and build more resilient communities.


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