What is a Social Entrepreneur? Definition and Types

Social Entrepreneur: We live in a period in which people, particularly younger ones, are becoming more conscious of the services and products they purchase. Based on Deloitte’s Information (2018), the survey found that 86 percent of millennials believe the key to business success goes beyond simply finances.

It means they are more inclined to invest in businesses, ventures, and start-ups that, instead of focusing on earning money, are dedicated to solving society’s and people’s problems. This is where social entrepreneurship is an essential factor. Here, we’ll discuss social entrepreneurialism, its defining features, characteristics, types, and some examples.

Let’s get started right now.

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Social Entrepreneur

Social entrepreneurs pursue projects that could help solve issues facing an individual, a group of people, or even a whole society. They aim to create positive social change through their work or business initiatives. Many social entrepreneurs link their ambitions to their personal goals and offer the opportunity to impact around the globe positively.

There is a difference between a charitable organization and a social enterprise. A social enterprise is a business that generates capital for financial purposes. However, its primary goal is to address environmental and social problems through its products and services.

Let’s now examine the traits of a social entrepreneur.

Characteristics of Social Entrepreneurs


A social entrepreneur can only find feasible solutions to people’s problems with curiosity. Curiosity allows them to connect with people at the grass level and comprehend their struggles. Interest can also help social entrepreneurs think differently and develop innovative, practical, sustainable, and scalable solutions.


The trait of resourcefulness is making the most efficient use of possibilities and resources at your disposal, and it is an essential trait for social entrepreneurs. Why? It’s hard to find human and financial capital willing to be part of your mission in a society driven by profit, competition, or corporate culture. This is why a social entrepreneur must be able to utilize the opportunities offered efficiently.


One thing is dreaming up the perfect social enterprise that aligns with your goals. However, it’s quite another to make it happen. Pragmatism helps a social entrepreneur recognize that vision requires the time and effort of success failures and experiments to come into existence. They understand that through a pragmatic approach, they can get the desired outcomes simply by moving just one step.

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If you are a social entrepreneur, there may be more effective approaches to success than sticking to traditional strategies and methods. In the early stages, many new challenges require new thinking. Social entrepreneurs have open-minded minds. He realizes they must be flexible and find creative solutions to address new issues.

Willingness to Collaborate:

Social entrepreneurs require all the assistance they can receive to make their dream a reality. The people who go down the road of establishing an organization for good social thinking and believe they’ll be able to accomplish it all will have a meager chance of success. Additionally, organizations and individuals who have a charitable mindset are eager to work with these ventures. Therefore, it is best to seek their assistance and use their expertise to benefit everyone.


The spark that keeps social entrepreneurs going. While inspiration is a constant source of periods of highs and lows, it is an essential element. Social entrepreneurs who aren’t motivated by their mission and vision cannot encourage others and inspire them to trust them.


It is believed that Rome wasn’t built within a day. Persistence is an essential quality that a social enterprise without will not succeed. There will be times in this endeavor when inspiration fades, and the entrepreneur’s faith might shake. Remaining committed to the mission during these moments helps entrepreneurs overcome tough times with a renewed and motivated energy to push forward.

Let’s now look at the most common kinds of social entrepreneurs.

Types of Social Entrepreneurship

Community Social Entrepreneur:

Community social entrepreneurs (CSOs) are small contributors focused on their immediate communities and seeking to resolve their issues. They concentrate on sanitation and education, literacy and hygiene, food and health, employment, etc. They are situated in tiny geographical regions with big dreams and a group of people who believe in their objectives.

After they’ve succeeded in their local communities and expanded, they attempt to expand their reach and reach to others, thus paving the way to become a larger enterprise. A lot of large-scale social enterprises start with community-based social entrepreneurship.

Non-Profit Social Entrepreneur:

Non-profit social entrepreneurs are motivated by the social good instead of financial profit. They begin with the cost of starting; once the company is in place and is generating profits, they invest profits back into the causes. This allows them to expand their scope and vision and will enable them to slowly develop into a larger social enterprise and tackle more complex issues.

Let’s say, for instance, that the first goal of social enterprise was to provide free healthcare to people in need. As they expand and expand, they can put the extra back and expand their mission to include those who need expensive surgery.

In general, large-budget companies and those who have high-performing businesses opt for this type of model as it’s easier for them to earn enough profit to allow them to expand.

Transformational Social Entrepreneur:

Transformational entrepreneurship is typically the next step of the non-profit model of social entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who focus on social issues and needs are usually beyond the reach of other companies or governments. In addition, they focus on creating a more significant social impact while creating greater economic returns for the companies.

They are large-scale organizations that have their own rules and rules. In certain instances, they can grow large enough to join forces with or incorporate into government entities that focus on solving social problems.

Social enterprises that transform have better access to top talent due to the size of their budgets. They also seek out employees and offer them in-house education and mentorship to help meet the company’s demands for talent.

Global Social Entrepreneur:

Social entrepreneurs from around the world are huge players who are focusing on environmental and social issues at a global level. They aim to improve the social system by leveraging their financial and international standing. Large organizations and multimillionaires generally follow the global social entrepreneurship path as they take on social responsibility and focus on bringing about positive transformation.

These organizations aim for lofty goals, including fighting food shortages in the world’s poorest regions or eliminating Polio worldwide. They collaborate with other social entrepreneurs and organizations to attain the desired outcomes. However, their high-risk goals and extensive network expose them to risks since their failure can be more damaging than a small-scale social business. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an ideal illustration of a worldwide social business.

Examples of Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship isn’t an abstract concept; it has changed the world. Look at the most famous social entrepreneurs working hard to change the world.

Bill Drayton:

Also known as the “father of social entrepreneurship,” Bill Drayton was the first to invent and market the term.

He is the creator of a social enterprise known as Ashoka. It aims to locate entrepreneurs interested in launching social enterprises and assist them in getting their feet on the ground. Ashoka has supported more than 2,100 participants in 73 countries around the globe to date.

Scott Harrison:

Scott Harrison led a life of luxury and comfort in New York City, but his outlook changed after his trip to West Africa with a hospital ship charity called “Mercy Ships.”This transformational experience led Scott Harrison to create “Water,” a non-profit social enterprise that supplies clean water to 29 countries around the globe.

The organization funds charities constructing wells and water filtration systems in areas requiring clean drinking water. In 2020, the organization completed 914,414 projects in the developing world.

Bill Gates:

Bill Gates got the world’s interest as a successful commercial enterprise leader, but he soon changed his focus to being socially ambitious.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the most critical private foundation, with $46.8 billion worth of funds. Its mission is to address humanity’s problematic issues, such as access to modern healthcare and extreme poverty.

Shiza Shahid:

Motivated by Malala Yousufzai’s dream to increase gender equality in education, Shiza Shahid became the co-founder and global ambassador for the Malala Fund. Malala Fund.

It began around 2009 as Shahid sought Malala to host an educational camp for her and other Pakistani girls. Shiza Shahid is an excellent illustration of a young entrepreneur who switched focus to social entrepreneurship before her age, which is why she was featured in Time Magazine’s under 30″ list of world-changing leaders.

Muhammad Yunus:

Prof. Muhammad Yunus is a social businessman from Bangladesh. The professor, an economist, and a banker were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2006 for creating Grameen Bank. The bank aims to provide loans to villagers’ needs and lift them from poverty.

Grameen Bank is a perfect example of how banks could be social companies. Prof. Muhammad Yunus has also earned other international honors, such as his work, his Congressional Gold Medal, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Olympic Laurel.


The long-running culture of capitalistic companies is being scrutinized as the world becomes more aware of the negative impacts their actions can have. The public now demands eco-friendly goods and services that will no longer harm the environment and its inhabitants.

Social enterprises offer a feasible solution to this issue since they seek to address environmental and social problems and provide income for those working within these.