Who is a Social Entrepreneur ?

Entrepreneurs are people who venture into new areas primarily with intent of making profit out of the same. Of course there they socially responsible also and have the obligation of contributing to the well being of the society in which they operate; but this obligation is secondary. In social entrepreneurship this obligation of contribution to social well being is primary and in a way profit takes a back seat or is more or less secondary but essential to the survival!

A social entrepreneur is somebody who takes up a pressing social problem and meets it with an innovative or path breaking solution. Since profit making is a secondary objective, therefore they are people who are passionate and determined about what they do. They possess a very high level of motivation and are visionaries who aim at bringing about a change in the way things are.

By definition social entrepreneurs are great people recruiters who present their ideas or solutions in a way that many people, who are either part of the problem or surrounding it, recognise a need for change and get onboard the change bandwagon. Thus mobilizing the masses for bringing about change is a hallmark of a social entrepreneur.

Social entrepreneurs operate with an aim of changing the face of society. Be it health, sanitation, education, they are present everywhere. There are people even who work on bringing about change in the modern innovations because their impact has been detrimental to human life. They thus work towards improving systems, creating new solutions, laying down fair practices.

Some of the very famous people who inspire others to take up social entrepreneurship are:

  • Susan B Anthony: was the Co-Founder of the first women’s temperance movement and a prominent American civil rights leader for women’s rights in the 19th century.

  • Vinobha Bhave: is a prominent figure in Indian modern history and was the founder and leader of the Land gift movement that helped reallocate land to untouchables.

  • Maria Montessori: a pioneer in education. Developed the Montessori approach to early education in children.

  • Florence nightingale: she laid the foundation for the first school of nurses and worked to improve the hospital conditions.

  • Margaret Sanger: She was the founder and Leader of the planned parent hood federation of America, championed the family planning system around the world.

These are examples of some people who fought for what they believed in and brought about varying degrees of change in their respective spheres of work.

Social entrepreneurship has witnessed a boom in the past few years with more and more people getting attracted to it. There is now a healthy competition and world class graduates are giving up lucrative jobs to work and contribute in meaningful ways towards the society.

As Bill Drayton would say it aptly ‘Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the entire fishing industry’. Such is the passion and the commitment required to be called a social entrepreneur that it may not be misappropriate to say that it is more challenging that traditional entrepreneurship!

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