What is a Social Entrepreneur?
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 (a social venture).
Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals.
However, whilst social entrepreneurs are most commonly associated with the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors, this need not necessarily be incompatible with making a profit.
Who are Social Entrepreneurs?
Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.
Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps.
Social entrepreneurs often seem to be possessed by their ideas, committing their lives to changing the direction of their field. They are both visionaries and ultimate realists, concerned with the practical implementation of their vision above all else.
Each social entrepreneur presents ideas that are user-friendly, understandable, ethical, and engage widespread support in order to maximize the number of local people that will stand up, seize their idea, and implement with it. In other words, every leading social entrepreneur is a mass recruiter of local changemakers, role model proving that citizens who channel their passion into action can do almost anything.
Over the past two decades, the citizen sector has discovered what the business sector learned long ago: There is nothing as powerful as a new idea in the hands of a first-class entrepreneur.
What is a Social Enterprise?
Social enterprises are social mission driven organizations which apply market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose. The movement includes both non-profits that use business models to pursue their mission and for-profits whose primary purposes are social. Their aim is to accomplish targets that are social and/or environmental as well as financial: is often referred to as the triple bottom line. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social or environmental purpose remains central to their operation.
Grants to launch Social Enterprises in Canada?
[+B.C Grants: Growing the Social Economy from Vancity.]
[+B.C Grants: enp Granting Program.]
[+B.C Grants: The BC Social Enterprise Fund.]
[+Ontario Grants: Centre for Social Innovation Social Enterprise Funding Program]
[+Alberta Grants: Social Enterprise Fund (SEF)]
[+National Social Enterprise Capital Resource Database]
Capital for Social Enterprise in Canada: What's the capital funnel looking like?
[+Ontario vs Quebec: Building Capital, Building Community: A comparative analysis of access to capital for social enterprises in Ontario and Quebec
[+The Nonprofit Sector Capital Market in British Columbia and Alberta (2009)
[+Social Capital, Social Entrepreneurs and Safer Communities: Enabling Albertas Communities to Work out Lasting Solutions (2008)
Are you interested in learning more about the Social Enterprise Business Structure in Canada?
As of right now "Social enterprise' has, as yet, no legal meaning in Canada. The Income tax Act allows charitable organizations and public
foundations to undertake related business activities, but not unrelated business activities, while private foundations cannot undertake any business activities.
To learn more click the following link to download a PDF by Stacey Corriveau entitled:
[+"Social Enterprise Business Structure: Some Considerations for registered Charities."]
This fact sheet is provided by the B.C Centre for Social Enterprise and funded by the Canada Revenue Agency.
(Please visit the individual research nodes for more information about their social enterprise projects: Atlantic, Quebec, Southern Ontario, Northern Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, Northern, British Columbia and Alberta)
- "More Reflections on Legal Structures for Community Enterprise." By Richard Bridge B.A., LLB. Found online @ BC Centre for Social Enterprise.
- about applying practical, innovative and sustainable approaches to benefit society in general, with an emphasis on those who are marginalized and poor.
- a term that captures a unique approach to economic and social problems, an approach that cuts across sectors and disciplines.
- grounded in certain values and processes that are common to each social entrepreneur, independent of whether his/ her area of focus has been education, health, welfare reform, human rights, workers' rights, environment, economic development, agriculture, etc., or whether the organizations they set up are non-profit or for-profit entities.
- A pragmatic visionary who achieves large scale, systemic and sustainable social change through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of these.
- Combines the characteristics represented by Richard Branson and Mother Teresa.
- an unwavering belief in the innate capacity of all people to contribute meaningfully to economic and social development
- a driving passion to make that happen.
- a practical but innovative stance to a social problem, often using market principles and forces, coupled with dogged determination, that allows them to break away from constraints imposed by ideology or field of discipline, and pushes them to take risks that others wouldn't dare.
- a zeal to measure and monitor their impact. Entrepreneurs have high standards, particularly in relation to their own organization’s efforts and in response to the communities with which they engage. Data, both quantitative and qualitative, are their key tools, guiding continuous feedback and improvement.
- a healthy impatience. Social entrepreneurs don’t do well in bureaucracies. They cannot sit back and wait for change to happen – they are the change drivers.
Social entrepreneurship is
It is this approach that sets the social entrepreneur apart from the rest of the crowd of well-meaning people and organizations who dedicate their lives to social improvement.
Typical Social Entrepreneurs can be described as..
Social Entrepreneurs share common traits such as:
Social entrepreneurs are:
Ambitious: Social entrepreneurs tackle major social issues, from increasing the college enrollment rate of low-income students to fighting poverty in developing countries. These entrepreneurial leaders operate in all kinds of organizations: innovative nonprofits, social purpose ventures such as for-profit community development banks, and hybrid organizations that mix elements of nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Mission driven: Generating social value-not wealth-is the central criterion of a successful social entrepreneur. While wealth creation may be part of the process, it is not an end in itself. Promoting systemic social change is the real objective.
Strategic: Like business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs see and act upon what others miss: opportunities to improve systems, create solutions and invent new approaches that create social value. And like the best business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs are intensely focused and hard-driving-even relentless-in their pursuit of a social vision.
Resourceful: Because social entrepreneurs operate within a social context rather than the business world, they have limited access to capital and traditional market support systems. As a result, social entrepreneurs must be exceptionally skilled at mustering and mobilizing human, financial and political resources.
Results oriented: Ultimately, social entrepreneurs are driven to produce measurable returns. These results transform existing realities, open up new pathways for the marginalized and disadvantaged, and unlock society's potential to effect social change.
Videos on Social Entrepreneurship
Ian Gill, 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' Finalist
Canadian 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award' Finalist - Ian Gill...Social Entrepreneurship Ian Gill Ecotrust
Muhammad Yunus: Building Social Business Ventures
Preview of Muhammad Yunus: Building Social Business Ventures - one of 16 DVDs created by Ashoka's Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship.
Dr. Yunus, recently awarded the Preview of Muhammad Yunus: Building Social Business Ventures - one of 16 DVDs created by Ashoka's Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship.
Dr. Yunus, recently awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, shares his strategies for building businesses dedicated to the social good. He describes the founding and structure of Grameen Bank, Grameen Phone and other companies he has created on behalf of the poor. Produced by Rooy Media LLC for Ashoka. To purchase the films, visit dvd.ashoka.org. (
Dr.Gilles Julien, 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' Finalist
Canadian 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' Award Finalist - Dr. Gilles Julien...Social Entrepreneurship Dr. Gilles Julien Fondation
2008 Skoll World Forum closing film - M. Yunus
Organization suporting social entrepreneurs...social entrepreneur innovation canada
Social Entrepreneurship: Creating Change
Social problems can not or should not be addressed by government. Enter the Social Entrepreneur.
These innovative people have found solutions to many problems by combining their social Sometimes the world's social problems can not or should not be addressed by government.
Enter the Social Entrepreneur. These innovative people have found solutions to many problems by combining their social expertise with business acumen to create new organizations that are, as London School of Business Dean Laura Tyson describes them, 'a new kind of business hero.'
The 2004 Burkenroad Symposium addresses the issue with three scholars who, having written extensively on the subject, share examples of how social entrepreneurs have changed the world.
Tzeporah Berman, 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' Finalist
Canadian 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist' - Tzeporah Berman...Social Entrepreneurship Tzeporah Berman ForestEthics
2007 Skoll World Forum - Jeff Skoll at the 2007 Skoll Awards ...at the 2007 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford, England
Jeff Skoll, founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation and Participant Productions, talks about Al Gore's "An Inconveniant Truth" and his upcoming "Live Earth" concert, as well as social entrepreneurship and the power of stories.
Recorded live at the 2007 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford, England.
2007 Skoll World Forum - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah
Jordan speaks to delegates of the 2007 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England.
"Social Entrepreneurship" - Ashoka's Bill Drayton speaks...
Bill Drayton, Chairman and CEO of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public and lifelong entrepreneur, helped build the field of social entrepreneurship 25 years ago