What is a Social Entrepreneur?

Social entrepreneurship is nothing new, it has however grown rapidly in recent years as more and more people look to utilize business techniques to improve social and global situations. Philanthropy and charitable work from businesses has existed for years but what we are now seeing is young, knowledgeable and hungry entrepreneurs like Rene Escobar Bribiesca, tackling social issues using smart and innovative methods. If you haven’t heard of this form of entrepreneurship then here is a little more about it and how it works.


In a Nutshell

In a nutshell, social entrepreneurship is a way in which people’s lives are improved through organizations that use business-style skills to create funding, use resources and promote change for the good. Profits and losses do exist in this type of approach but it rarely comes down to money, the balance sheet here is about how many lives helped. These types of social enterprises differ from companies who do charitable work in society using profits or through programs, these companies are set up with the sole purpose of aiding society.

Different Forms

There are 3 main forms of social entrepreneurship, all with the same aim but with different methods in their approach, here are the 3 most popular varieties.

  • Leveraged Non-Profit

 The leveraged non-profit model is about using innovation to meet the needs of a problem or social issue. This method ‘leverages’ resources from funding to man-power using creative methods, it is these creative methods that sets this method apart from the others.

  • Hybrid Non-Profit

The hybrid non-profit model uses its profits to re-invest in its projects, these types of businesses often plug gaps that are left by lack of government funding, grants and loans. 

  • Social Business Venture

 These types of enterprises are created with the idea of supporting and changing areas of society using social means rather than relying upon the huge generation of cash that many others are required to do. This model largely started as a result of a lack of funding and there are many social entrepreneurs who utilize this approach for-profit, in contrast to the other methods of social entrepreneurship.


Success is often difficult to measure as many of the projects that are started are those looking for continuous social change which is difficult to gauge with numbers and figures. There are some incredibly influential social entrepreneurs who have founded and succeeded with many organizations and projects through the years, here are some of the best people in the industry.

  • Bill Drayton
  • Community Greens – Creation of public green spaces on brown field land
  • Youth Venture – Collection of projects to improve young lives
  • Get America Working! – Incentivized labor projects
  • Ashoka Foundation – Collective foundation for all projects
  • Muhammad Yunus
  • Written over 15 books on social capitalism, social entrepreneurship and microfinance
  • Won a Nobel Prize in 2006
  • Grameen Bank – Provides microcredit loans to help aid financial self-sufficiency, net income of $10m


  • Blake Mycoskie
  • Creator of TOMS – Company that gives one pair of new shoes to those in need for every pair of shoes that they sell.