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social entrepreneur

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A social entrepreneur is an individual who conceptualizes and spearheads business enterprises, such as startups, that are focused on providing service to the community more than financial gain. 

In general, entrepreneurs see market gaps and apply their creativity creating a business plan to meet those needs. Social entrepreneurs, on the other hand, see societal needs and use business and management skills to bring about change. Characteristics of social entrepreneurs include initiative, dedication, passion, energy and a strong desire to serve their community. 

David Bornstein, author of several books on social entrepreneurship, defines social entrepreneurs as “path breakers with a powerful new idea, who combine visionary and real-world problem solving creativity, have a strong moral fibre, and who are ‘totally possessed’ by their vision of change.”

This was last updated in June 2013

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