In a better world, everyone
would be able to earn their livelihood at jobs that help to make the world a better
place. Many people today are finding ways to work for a better world and make
a living at the same time. A social entrepreneur is someone who sees a
social problem and creates a new and innovative way to address it. While some
social entrepreneurs work through nonprofits, citizen groups or government programs,
many create sustainable businesses to address the problem. Typical businesses
measure their success by the amount of profit they make; social entrepreneurs
measure their success by how big an impact they make in bringing about social
'social entrepreneur' is fairly new - it was first used in the 1960s and 1970s.
But social entrepreneurs can be found all throughout history and include many
historical figures. Florence Nightingale, for example, established the first nursing
school and helped develop modern nursing practices; Robert Owen created one of
the first cooperative movements, and Maria Montessori, Italy's first female physician
created a new education method that supports each child's unique character and
development. All can be considered social entrepreneurs.
entrepreneurship has become even more widespread today, often to fill the gaps
where government programs or nonprofit organizations haven't reached. In 2006,
social entrepreneurship was featured in the spotlight when Muhammad
Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank (which gives microloans to poor people
so that they can create their own sustainable businesses), won the Nobel Peace
social entrepreneur movement began in 1981 when social entrepreneurial pioneer
Bill Drayton founded Ashoka: Innovators for the Public to identify and support
social entrepreneurs. To date, Ashoka has supported more than 1800 social entrepreneurs
in over 60 countries. Now there are quite a number of organizations that promote
social entrepreneurship as an important way to address today's social problems.
The Skoll Foundation, started by eBay's first president Jeff Skoll, awards a million
dollar annual prize to a number of social entrepreneurs. The Schwab Foundation
for Social Entrepreneurship, created by World Economics Forum founder Klaus Schwab,
highlights social entrepreneurs of the year around the world and helps connect
them to investors and to each other. YouthActionNet and YouthVenture promote social
entrepreneurship as a way to empower youth who wish to help build a more peaceful,
just, prosperous and sustainable world.