Social Entrepreneur: Definition and Examples

A Social Entrepreneur: What Is It?

An individual who seeks innovative applications with the potential to address community-based issues is known as a social entrepreneur. Through their efforts, these people are prepared to take the chance and put in the work necessary to alter society for the better. Some social entrepreneurs think that by doing this, they may help people discover their life’s purpose, help themselves discover their own, and change the world—all while barely making ends meet.

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A Knowledge of Social Entrepreneurs

Even while the possibility of making money drives the majority of entrepreneurs, this does not stop the average entrepreneur from making a constructive contribution to society. The economist Adam Smith said in his book The Wealth of Nations, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.”

Smith thought that when people looked out for themselves, they would be led to make judgments that were good for other people. For instance, the baker needs to make a livelihood in order to provide for his family. They do this by making bread, a commodity that sustains and feeds hundreds of people.

Inequalities in this availability, the underlying causes of these social issues, or the stigma attached to living in these places might all be targets of a social entrepreneur. Making money is not a social entrepreneur’s primary objective. A social entrepreneur, on the other hand, aims to bring about significant changes in society. To thrive in their mission, a social entrepreneur must still have sound financial judgment, though.

Various Social Entrepreneur Types

Social Entrepreneur in the Community

The needs of a local geographic area—typically the community they reside in—are given priority by community social entrepreneurs. This kind of social entrepreneur is more focused on improving their local community than they are on the particulars of their business venture.

This kind of social entrepreneur frequently cultivates close ties with the people in their community, using those connections to influence the distribution of resources within their town. To ensure that the needs of the community are satisfied and that partnerships that make sense are formed, members of the community, local organizations, and the community social entrepreneur collaborate.

Social Entrepreneur on a Non-Profit

The most prevalent kind of social entrepreneurs are nonprofits, who have a clearly defined mission that helps people but may not always be directly related to their community. The advent of internet or remote social entrepreneurship has made it simpler to establish organizations with more expansive mission-driven goals.

The majority of the time, nonprofit social enterprises function much like businesses. The main distinction is that the non-profit organization frequently returns its net income to the organization for additional programming development. Rather of looking to investors for profits, a non-profit social entrepreneur aims to allocate as much capital as possible to furthering their cause.

A Social Entrepreneur on the Verge of Revolution

A non-profit social company that is only getting started frequently transforms into a transformative social entrepreneur as it expands. Local nonprofits’ missions might expand along with them. A transformative social entrepreneur aims to grow their business from one program to several that serve different communities. Take Goodwill as an example, which began as a modest non-profit social company and has grown into a much larger, more regulated organization with many more policies.

International Social Entrepreneur

There are occasions when geographic or national boundaries don’t matter in social entrepreneurship. People occasionally attempt to find solutions to broad societal issues like despair, poverty, or poor living conditions. Typically, a social entrepreneur can attempt to address a problem in a particular area. But these ingrained problems are frequently regional in nature. Numerous answers found in one field could be related to another.

Without a doubt, these organizations have the widest reach. Take the size of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for instance. Their efforts to discover vaccines for different diseases that affect people globally are a prime example of international social enterprises.

The Final Word

Some people create businesses in an attempt to become extremely wealthy. In other cases, people launch a business to further social justice. The latter kind of person is known as a social entrepreneur, and they frequently begin by determining the people and issues that they wish to assist. The main distinction between a social initiative and a fully-for-profit business is that the former places a higher priority on the good that they do for their target audience or community.

What It Means to Be an Entrepreneur and How to Start One

An Entrepreneur: What Is It?

An entrepreneur is a person who starts a new company, taking on the most of the risks and reaping the majority of the benefits. Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business.

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In any economy, entrepreneurs are essential because they have the knowledge, drive, and ability to foresee requirements and launch novel initiatives. Successful entrepreneurship that accepts the risks associated with founding a startup is rewarded with financial gains and expansion prospects.

Why Do Entrepreneurs Matter?

Three resources are considered essential to production by economists: labor, capital, and land/natural resources. One of these resources is entrepreneurship. The first three of these are combined by an entrepreneur to produce items or render services. They usually draft a business strategy, employ staff, get funding and resources, and oversee and run the company.

The term “entrepreneur” or “entrepreneurship” has never been defined consistently by economists (the word originates from the French verb entreprendre, meaning “to undertake”). Despite the fact that the idea of an entrepreneur has been around for centuries, entrepreneurs were not included in the formal models of classical and neoclassical economics. They did not allow for risk-taking or discovery because they believed that totally rational agents would have all the facts. Economists did not make any meaningful attempts to include entrepreneurship in their models until the middle of the 20th century.

The inclusion of entrepreneurs was greatly influenced by the theories of Israel Kirzner, Frank Knight, and Joseph Schumpeter. Schumpeter argued that in the pursuit of profit, entrepreneurs, not simply businesses, were in charge of creating new products. Knight concentrated on business owners because he saw them as the carriers of uncertainty and thought that they were to blame for the risk premiums in financial markets. According to Kirzner, entrepreneurship is a process that results in the identification of possibilities.

In the modern day, entrepreneurs frequently encounter several challenges as they establish their businesses. The three that the majority of them consider as the most difficult are finding funding, acquiring skilled personnel, and getting past bureaucracy.

What Kinds of Entrepreneurs Are There?

Not all entrepreneurs are the same, nor do they all want to achieve the same things. These are a few categories of business owners:


Quickly building scalable enterprises is the goal of builders. In the first two to four years of operation, builders usually surpass $5 million in sales and keep going until they reach $100 million or more. These people look for the greatest investors and hire the best staff in an effort to establish a solid infrastructure. They occasionally have fiery dispositions that fit their need for rapid growth but can make forming relationships in both the personal and professional spheres challenging.


An optimistic person, opportunistic entrepreneurs are able to identify financial possibilities, enter the market at the correct moment, stick with a company during its development phase, and leave when it reaches its zenith.

These businesspeople are drawn to concepts that allow them to generate recurring or renewal revenue since they are focused on making money and amassing riches. Opportunistic entrepreneurs might be impetuous since they are seeking for possibilities that arise at the right time.


The exceptional people who are innovators are those uncommon ones that have a brilliant concept or something that no one else has thought of before. Consider Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Thomas Edison. These people followed their passions and used their ideas and vision to identify business chances.

Inventors are typically more concerned with the social effect of their goods and services than they are with making money. These people are great at coming up with ideas, but they’re not the best at running a business, so they frequently delegate day-to-day management to others who are stronger at it.


These people are risk-averse and analytical. They have solid expertise in a particular field that they have acquired via training or an apprenticeship. A specialized entrepreneur may see slower development than a building entrepreneur since they will expand their firm through networking and recommendations.

What does an entrepreneur do?

A person who launches or owns a business is an entrepreneur. Whether they work in manufacturing, retail, services, or agriculture, entrepreneurs are risk-takers who build successful businesses. They frequently upend existing sectors in the process of pursuing their goals.

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Étienne St-Jean, a professor at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurial Careers, notes that formulating a definite response to the question “What is an entrepreneur?” can be challenging, even beyond this straightforward description.

According to him, some in his industry view an entrepreneur as someone who starts their own company, some will only classify you as an entrepreneur—rather than a business owner—if your company is growing. Still others would only classify you as an entrepreneur if you have begun to pay people.

What does he mean by an entrepreneur? He defines “someone who creates, or owns and manages, a business,” adding that small- and medium-sized business owner-managers, including those who acquired the company from another person, would fall under this category. “You are an entrepreneur as long as you direct the strategic direction of the company.”

Making your own way is a requirement of becoming an entrepreneur. It’s an option for a career. You’ve made the decision not to labor for pay,” St-Jean explains.

What qualities distinguish an entrepreneur?

Many entrepreneurs identify themselves by their passion, tenacity, and resilience, according to BDC economist Isabelle Bouchard, who co-authored a 2019 research on entrepreneurship in Canada. “We found them to be the buzzwords while doing surveys and conversations with business owners. Despite the many difficulties they face, they have such a strong sense that they will succeed because of their enthusiasm.

According to Brian King, a professor at HEC Montréal’s Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a successful entrepreneur has qualities with high-achieving athletes, journalists, or doctors. “You see all the qualities that propel people to success in an entrepreneur.”

The 2019 BDC research found that approximately three-quarters of people polled were attracted to become entrepreneurs by three additional characteristics: independence, autonomy, and flexibility. It was shown that about 50% of entrepreneurs are motivated by self-fulfillment and passion. Even higher percentages of women and young entrepreneurs—59% and 75%, respectively—cite this.

How to start your own business

As an entrepreneur, you will require a certain set of abilities that come naturally to you, some that you may acquire via training or experience, and yet others that will be part of the skill set of a reliable partner in your new business.

There are other actions you can do to support the development and commercialization of your ideas, such selecting the appropriate good or service and creating networks.

Risk and entrepreneurs

Starting your own business is not for the weak of heart. As per the BDC study, a third of newly established firms collapse after five years, and just one out of every two enterprises remains operational after ten years.

Why do new companies fail so often? The causes might be microeconomic, like a person who might not be prepared to launch a firm, or macroeconomic, such the dominance of marketplaces by big companies.

St-Jean observes that many aspiring business owners have high expectations, which presents certain issues. Many believe they can work for themselves, have no boss, and earn a lot of money. Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg come to mind.

The majority of experts concur that increasing your chances of success when launching a new business involves conducting thorough study beforehand, looking for mentors, assembling a strong team, and accumulating a range of expertise.

How business owners support the economy

According to Bouchard, Canada’s entrepreneurs are the country’s main economic drivers. “They account for a sizable portion of all enterprises. They are responsible for a great number of jobs.

According to St-Jean, entrepreneurs promote growth and innovation as well. “When a new company launches a more inventive venture, it compels the more established companies to adapt and compete with this new threat. It therefore stimulates innovation, which stimulates growth.

But all of this business effort may have a drawback.

“There are certain really talented businesspeople who well-established companies would ordinarily welcome. However, they’re too preoccupied with starting their own companies, according to St-Jean.

He goes on to say that many small and medium-sized firms today could use additional staff and would thrive in an environment if skilled workers—some of whom are struggling company owners—were more readily available.