History of Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is a kind of entrepreneurship initiative that aims at taking up a social problem for bringing about a transformation in the same. The person who takes up the challenge is called a social entrepreneur and he / she uses principle of entrepreneurship with the intent of creating social capital and not being essentially profit centered.

The aim of social entrepreneurship is to promote the cause of social and environmental goals that have an impact in either in the present or the times to come. Such entrepreneurs are generally a part of or associated in some way with some nonprofit organisations (NGO’s). Although profit making is also as aspect of this concept but it may not be the sole purpose of the organisation.

Andrew Mawson worked extensively upon the concept of social entrepreneurship and extended the same to bring about reform in the community structure. He also laid the foundation of the Bow center in east London. For this he was conferred upon the peerage of Lord Mawson and he works for developing partnerships for regeneration work initiated by him.

Social entrepreneurship is relatively a new term. It came in to notice just a few decades ago. But its usage can be found throughout the history. In fact, there were several entrepreneurs who established social enterprises to eliminate social problems or bring positive change in the society. Vinoba Bhave, the founder of India’s Land Gift Movement, Robert Owen, the founder of cooperative movement and Florence Nightingale, founder of first nursing school and developer of modern nursing practices might be included in this category. They had established such foundations and organizations in 19th century that is much before the concept of Social Entrepreneurship used in management.

There were entrepreneurs during nineteenth and twentieth centuries who made efforts to eradicate social evils. Apart from this, there are many societies and organizations that work for child rights, women empowerment, save environment, save trees, treatment of waste products, etc. Apart from addressing the social issues, social entrepreneurship also includes recognition and addressing the environmental problems and financial issues for rural and urban poor.

These days, the concept of social entrepreneurship has been widely used and that too in different forms. The establishment of Grameen Bank by Muhammad Yunus, Ashoka: The Innovators for the Public by Bill Drayton, Youth United by Jyotindra Nath, Rand De by Ramakrishna and Smita Ram, SKS Microfinance by Vikram Akula and Roozi.com by Nick Reder, Brent Freeman and Norma La Rosa has popularized the term.

In fact, all big brands and companies are adopting the concept of social entrepreneurship and trying to address the issues in our society by opening schools in far flung areas, educating women for family planning, making it possible for farmers and poor individuals to access low interest credits, establishing plants for waste treatment, planting trees and going green.

The concept of Social Entrepreneurship has also been included as a separate branch of management courses. Even youth is also looking forward to volunteering their services and brilliant ideas to bring a social change through social entrepreneurship.


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