NOW Schedule About
Enterprising Ideas - Social Entrepreneurs at Work
Home Stories Project Enterprise Get Involved Blog What is a Social Entrepreneur For Educators

What is a Social Entrepreneur?

A social entrepreneur, in our view, is a person or entity that takes a business approach to effectively solving a social problem. We call this approach an "enterprising idea." Borrowing from the collaborative approach that often distinguishes social entrepreneurs, we also offer the following definitions from a variety of reputable sources.

Social entrepreneurs...

Are individuals with innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems.

Act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss in order to improve systems, invent and disseminate new approaches and advance sustainable solutions that create social value.
PBS "New Heroes" Program

Are driven by a social mission and a desire to find innovative ways to solve social problems that have been neglected by either the market or the public sector.
Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Are pioneers of innovation that benefit humanity. [Note: Enterprising Ideas is partially funded by the Skoll Foundation.]
The Skoll Foundation

Use the disciplines of the corporate world to tackle daunting social problems.
Fast Company

Recognize a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.

Social entrepreneurship is...

The art of "simultaneously pursuing both a financial and a social return on investment (the double bottom line)."
Institute for Social Entrepreneurs

Other terms used in place of "social entrepreneur":

  1. Social capitalist
  2. Social innovator
  3. Venture philanthropists

Enterprising Ideas is a project of NOW on PBS, with support from:

PBS Foundation
Skoll Foundation