A Short History of Social Entrepreneurship

When going to the heart of social entrepreneurship, it’s about taking action to create social impact. It takes many kinds of actors to advance this social change: people who initiate new ideas and institutions (or renew old ones), a larger number who collaborate in building those institutions directly, and a much larger number who support these efforts in different ways. How we look at these roles changed over the years and can be summarized as follows:

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Social Entrepreneurship 1.0

Social entrepreneurship 1.0 was structured around people with innovative ideas and practical models for achieving major societal impact. A spotlight was turned on these people and their work, and support systems to help them were developed.

Social Entrepreneurship 2.0

This was the era of organizational excellence and social entrepreneurs build sustainable high impact organizations by drawing heavily on business strategy, finance and management.

Social Entrepreneurship 3.0

The latest vision on social entrepreneurship looks beyond individual founders and institutions to the change-making potential of all people, and their interactions. It’s concerned with building platforms that enable more people at every age to think and behave like changemakers and to help them to work together.
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Social entrepreneurship is about unleashing human potential. It sheds light on how change happens and how societies renew themselves. It also adds a dimension to the study of democracy, expanding the role of the citizen beyond choosing government representatives.

A quarter century ago, it took unusual confidence and vision to become a social entrepreneur. The role was undefined, examples were rare. Today, the path is becoming clear.

Want to Know More?

We found an inspiring video on social entrepreneurship and pioneering social change which we recommend watching.

An interesting article about platforms for the common good and how to go from ego-system to eco-system If you really want to dive into the concept of social entrepreneurship, we can advise Bornstein, D & Davis, S. book ‘Social Entrepreneurship. What everyone needs to know’ (2010).