A social entrepreneur is a person who pursues novel applications that have the potential to solve community-based problems. These individuals are willing to take on the risk and effort to create positive changes in society through their initiatives (Investopedia).
Social entrepreneurship is, at its most basic level, doing business for a social cause. Social entrepreneurs combine commerce and social issues in a way that improves the lives of people connected to the cause. They don’t measure their success in terms of profit alone – success to social entrepreneurs means that they have improved the world, however they define that.
There are differing opinions about what constitutes social entrepreneurship. Some think the definition applies only to businesses that make money and work toward improving a designated problem by selling something to consumers. Others say business owners who work to solve a social problem using grant or government money are also social entrepreneurs (Business encyclopedia)
Social entrepreneurship is a process by which citizens build or transform institutions to advance solutions to social problems, such as poverty, illness, illiteracy, environmental destruction, human rights abuses and corruption, in order to make life better for many. Academics, practitioners, and philanthropists characterize it variously as a profession, field, and movement (David Bornstein and Susan Davis (2010): Social entrepreneurship, What everyone needs to know)
Creating social value
In a Nordic report, they define social entrepreneurship as creating social value through innovation with a high degree of participant orientation, often with the participation of civil society and often with an economic significance. The innovation often takes place across the three sectors represented by the state, the market and the civil society. The report state that social entrepreneurship not necessarily is linked to technological or commercial innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Nordic report emphasizes that social entrepreneurship represents one of several steps in the understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation, from initially referring to economic agents of change to also including public entrepreneurs, moral entrepreneurs, and civic entrepreneurs. Whereas the moral entrepreneur is concerned with creating new, binding moral standards, public and social entrepreneurs are concerned with creating binding innovations that provide greater local and social power of action (Social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Initiatives to promote social entrepreneurship and social innovation in the Nordic countries, TemaNord 2015:562)
Examples of social entrepreneurship
Examples of social entrepreneurship include microfinance institutions, educational programs, and helping children orphaned by the epidemic disease. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. Their efforts are connected to a notion of addressing unmet needs within communities that have been overlooked or not granted access to services, products, or base essentials available in more developed communities.
A social entrepreneur might also seek to address imbalances in such availability, the root causes behind such social problems, or social stigma associated with being a resident of such communities. The main goal of a social entrepreneur is not to earn a profit, but rather to implement widespread improvements in society. However, a social entrepreneur must still be economically successful to succeed in his or her cause.
Muhammad Yunus is an example of a social entrepreneur
A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or companies.
One well-known social entrepreneur is Muhammad Yunus, who founded the Grameen Bank in 1976. Muhammad Yunus is from Bangladesh. In 2006, Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below”.