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social entrepreneurhip

What is it?

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

- Mahatma Gandhi

We are not fans of definitions.

Seeing is believing.

 enjoy this introductory film about

social entrepreneurship.

The next 9 minutes could change your life.  

Courtesy of the Skoll Foundation 

Social Entrepreneurship is an overarching term that describes a field of practice.

"The art of using entrepreneurship and innovation to solve social, cultural or environmental problems to create positive change for people and the planet." 

Virtue Ventures 

"Social Entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change."

Ashoka Innovators for the Public 

"Social Innovation is the process of inventing, securing support for, and implementing novel solutions to social needs and problems."

-Phills, Deiglmeier, & Miller

"Social Enterprise is a nonprofit organization or socially-oriented venture that advances its social mission through entrepreneurship, business tools and solid management practice to increase its effectiveness and financial sustainability with the ultimate goal of creating social impact or change.” 

-Kim Alter, Virtue Ventures 

Meet Some of our Favorite Social Entrepreneurs

Martin Burt

Martin Burt was the mayor of a major city in Paraguay, when he decided to leave politics to create a social enterprise dedicated to economic self reliance from the bottom up.   Martin describes the way to solve poverty as"putting money in the pockets of the poor." Martin founded Fundación Paraguaya, an agricultural school that transform farmers into rural entrepreneurs. 

Mobile Communications Tools to Bring Health Care to Underserved Communities

Josh was working at St. Gabriel's Hospital in rural Malawi where he observed community health workers walking over 30 miles to deliver updates on patients. He also observed stronger cell phone reception in the Malawian rural village than back home in California. Josh says, that was his "aha moment." The next time he returned to the hospital, he brought a suitcase of $10 Nokia phones. The impact of communication and better support for frontline health workers was clear.  Medic Mobile was born.

Of the 8 million Kenyans who live in urban informal settlements, 80% lack access to basic sanitation. Three MBA students from MIT Sloan School of Management saw an opportunity and developed a business plan for turning a public health crisis into an economic opportunity. The team won the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Business Plan Contest and launched Sanergy – a contraction of sanitation and energy – using an innovative franchise model.

When Victoria Hale worked as a pharmaceutical executive, she was haunted by the question: why in the 21st century when there are treatments for virtually any disease in the west,  are babies dying of dehydrating diarrhea and adults dying of diseases that could be cured, because treatments were never developed and brought to market?  She founded, Institute for One World Health, a nonprofit pharmaceutical company to ensure that drugs for infectious diseases in developing countries get to the people that need them regardless of their ability to pay.

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Bart Weejens,

Co-Founder APOPO

See APOPO's wildly innovative work in tuberculosis and landmine detection!

Learn More

Here are some great places to find practical resources on social entrepreneurship .

Skoll Foundation is a leading supporter of social entrepreneurs around the world.  Find profiles of social entrepreneurs from around the world and read or watch stories about how the work they are doing is changing the world for good.

Frontline World together with Oregon Public Broadcast created an excellent series of videos that shows how social entrepreneurs use innovative approaches to solve social problems around the world. 

A collection of Ted Talks and Tedx Talks about social entrepreneurship and social enterprise from pundits and practitioners. 

Simple roadmaps that chart the course for social entrepreneurs from beginning "explorer" to advanced "pro." Roadmaps are accompanied by video tutorials and quick links to related articles and tools.  

An online resource center for social enterprise practitioners. All of seToolbelt's resources are free and content is open source. Use the user-friendly faceted search engine to find toolkits, case studies, articles, manuals, etc. on social enterprise.

Alvin's Guide to Good Business series follows finance guru Alvin Hall as he visits eight different social entrepreneurs around the world, probing their business models, examining the potential impact of their work and exploring the challenges to scaling their innovations.

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