The term, “Social Entrepreneur”, has only a short history, but it goes way back in time.
A time, when William Lever, (of the Lever Brothers fame), jotted down his idea on Sunlight soap, to solve the problem of cleanliness and also, wanted to find a way to lessen women’s work while washing.
A time, when Florence Nightingale, revolutionized the theory of hospital conditions in the late 1800s, are among times, when exceptional individuals brought about social change, in what we label today, as Social Entrepreneurs.
According to Nicholls, (2006), the term, “Social Entrepreneur”, was first introduced in 1972, by Banks that noted that social problems could, also, be deployed by managerial practices, (social entrepreneurship – Pontus Braunerhjelm and Ulrika Stuart Hamilton).
A Social Entrepreneur is an individual, or, an organization that finds and creates a solution, in order to solve an existing problem affecting the society.
According to Wikipedia, Social Entrepreneurship is the use of Startup companies and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions, to social, cultural, or, environmental issues.
This concept may be applied to a variety of organizations, with different sizes, aims, and beliefs.
One factor that drives these individuals is that, they want to see changes, thus, are willing to undertake any risk in order to accomplish their aim of creating a positive change.
Making profit is not their aim, but how to effect social change is the driving force behind all that they do.
While most entrepreneurs are motivated by the need to earn a profit, the profit earned does not change the fact that they have been able to solve a lingering socio-economic problem.
Some notable Social Entrepreneurs include:
Muhammad Yunus a Bangladeshi banker, economist, and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.
Balikis Adebiyi-Abiola, a Nigerian CEO of a recycling company, Wecyclers, in Lagos.
Bill Drayton, who was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s 25 Best Leaders in 2005. He is responsible for the rise of the phrase “social entrepreneur”, a concept first found in print in 1972.
Scott Harrison, founder and current CEO of the non-profit charity called Water
Jeffery Hollender, an American entrepreneur, author, and activist.
Akhtar Hameed Khan, a Pakistani development practitioner and social scientist.
He promoted participatory rural development in Pakistan and other developing countries, and widely advocated community participation in development.
Achenyo Idachaba, an American-born entrepreneur working in Nigeria. She won the Cartier Initiative Award for women in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014.
Social Entrepreneurship is diverse in nature and types cannot be categorically stated, but it can be looked at from two concepts;
Common areas: This has to do with areas that are easy for Social Entrepreneurs to access and effect changes.
These are areas that are in need of solutions because of the visibility of the problems inherent there.
They include Finance, Health, workforce development, environment, etc.
Purpose: The primary motivation behind what a Social Entrepreneur does, is not to make and maximize profit, but to create a lasting solution to problematic issues.
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