What is a Social Entrepreneur?

I think even social entrepreneurs aren't entirely sure whether they're community saviours or business entrepreneurs but here are the standard definitions

  • Ashoka: Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems.
  • Skoll Foundation: The social entrepreneur aims for value in the form of transformational change that will benefit disadvantaged communities and ultimately society at large.
  • Wikipedia: A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.

Personally I think these are all just exercises in the use of big and fancy words.

I see the social entrepreneur in a more simplistic light. I see it as anyone struggling with the conflict between making a social difference (connotation ethical) and making money from it (connotation unethical). If the money thing isn't a factor then you're essentially just social, and if the social aspect doesn't drive you then you're probably just an entrepeneur.

It's a weird dichotomy that I have to admit to facing myself. I'm not really interested in anything unless it has a positive human impact and the whole business of making and managing money gives me the willies, but at the same time I really don't think I could go back to being paid an average wage again. I wonder if I'll ever resolve this properly or if I'm destined to keep walking this slightly uncomfortable tightrope?

Are you a social entrepreneur? Tell us what you think!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Creative Commons License

The Urban Survival Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.