What is Social Entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurship is, at its most basic level, doing business for a social cause. It might also be referred to as altruistic entrepreneurship.
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.
Beyond that, however, there are differing opinions about what constitutes social entrepreneurship. Some believe 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.
In the “earned income” model – where the social entrepreneur makes money by selling something – the company’s customers know that their purchase will help support a stated cause, whether it’s providing soap to children in need so hand washing can protect them from diseases or selling whistles to help promote peace in the Congo.
People are often attracted to businesses that use a social entrepreneurship model because they’re helping to solve a social problem when they spend money on something they need or want.