A social entrepreneur refers to an individual who pursues novel ideas with the potential to solve or alleviate certain community-oriented problems. Social entrepreneurs often are willing to take the risks associated with their venture to help address issues, enabling positive change in society.
In order to understand the term social entrepreneur, we must first understand that an entrepreneur refers to someone with creative and innovative ideas who already identified a void in the marketplace and is attempting to create a solution to address the issue. Entrepreneurs often take a higher amount of personal or financial risk, striving to bring about the success of their initiative.
A social entrepreneur refers to an individual who pursues novel ideas with the potential to solve or alleviate certain community-oriented problems.
Social entrepreneurs often are willing to take the risks associated with their venture to help address enabling positive change in society.
Social entrepreneurs often need to make sure that their ideas are easily understandable, user-friendly and that they are able to receive vast support from other people who will join in the venture.
Understanding Social Entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurs often start their venture or initiative after recognizing the prevalence of a certain problem in society and creating a solution to address it using their entrepreneurial skills. Their overall goal is to make a positive societal change while creating social capital to further their objectives.
They are often very ambitious and persistent in tackling major social issues and offering their ideas for societal-wide changes. Rather than leaving solutions to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs will likely analyze the situation and find solutions by changing the system and often persuading governments, large corporations, and sometimes even entire societies to join them to support their initiatives.
Social entrepreneurs will often devote much of their lives to their passions and interests in order to bring about positive changes to the areas they are concerned about.
Social entrepreneurs often need to make sure that their ideas are easily understandable, user-friendly, and are able to receive vast support from other people who will join in the venture. Often, every leading social entrepreneur is a recruiter of local changemakers and acts as a role model for other like-minded individuals with similar passions.
Characteristics of Social Entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurs certainly differ when it comes to individual personalities; however, they also share similar characteristics necessary for success as pragmatic individuals willing to undertake significant risks and uncertainties to achieve positive changes in areas that might be resistant to new ideas or approaches.
Social entrepreneurs firstly need to possess a strong passion that drives their desire to see their ideas and initiatives come to fruition, while also adopting a healthy impatience that ties in with their uncomfortableness with sitting back to wait for change to happen. They also need to come up with practical but innovative ideas to social issues and often use market forces and principles. It allows them to break away from constraints imposed by the traditions and customs within the fields of certain disciplines to take risks that others are afraid of taking.
Despite being hopeful of their success and ability to change the minds of others, social entrepreneurs are often able to monitor their own impact and degree of success and set high standards for themselves and their organizations in response to the communities with which they engage. They constantly review their performance using continuous feedback, both quantitative and qualitative, to guide their improvement.
Social entrepreneurs often tackle major social issues and often strive to improve the lives of certain disadvantaged groups within society. They operate in all kinds of organizations from non-profit organizations, charities, ventures – such as for-profit community development banks – and organizations that mix elements of non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Social entrepreneurs often focus on generating social value and focus less on profits and revenue. When profits are generated, they are put back into supporting the social mission of the organization. While profit is an important objective of the organization, the money is used towards furthering the social cause and objective.
Social entrepreneurs are adept at observing what others might miss. They identify opportunities to improve systems to create new solutions and approaches to create societal value and make a positive change in society. Social entrepreneurs need to be extremely determined and conscientious in order to be relentless in their pursuit of the social objective.
Social entrepreneurs often lack the strong support offered in the business world of access to capital and market support systems due to their interest in the social context rather than profit generation for shareholders and other stakeholders. They need to be skilled at persuading others to agree with their ideas and support their ambitions through financial, political, and other means.
Social entrepreneurs focus on the end results, which transform existing realities, open up new pathways for the marginalized and disadvantaged, and unlock society’s potential to effect social change.
CFI offers the Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and developing your knowledge base, please explore the additional relevant resources below:
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