List of social entrepreneurs

A social entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who works to increase social capital by founding social ventures, including charities, for-profit businesses with social causes, and other non-government organizations. These types of activities are distinct from work of non-operating foundations and philanthropists who provide funding and other support for them.[1]

Student organizers from the Green Club at Newcomb College Institute have formed a social entrepreneurship organization in 2010 that aimed to encourage people to reduce waste and live in a more environmentally conscious way.

Notable historical social entrepreneursEdit

Name Country Social venture founded Focus areas
Qais Al Khonji Oman Founder of Genesis projects and investments
Vinoba Bhave India Founder and leader of the Bhoodan movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres (2,800,000 ha) of land to aid India's untouchables and landless.
David Brower United States Environmentalist and conservationist, the Sierra Club's first executive director and built it into a worldwide network for environmental issues. He also founded Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters and The Earth Island Institute.
Akhtar Hameed Khan Pakistan Founder of grassroots movement for rural communities Comilla Model, and low-cost sanitation programmes (Orangi Pilot Project) for squatter settlements.
Maria Montessori Italy Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
John Muir United States Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.
Florence Nightingale United Kingdom Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.
Frederick Law Olmsted United States Creator of major urban parks, including Rock Creek Park in Washington DC, Central Park in NYC, and Mount Royal Park in Montreal, he is generally considered to have developed the profession of landscape architecture in America.
Gifford Pinchot United States Champion of the forest as a multiple use environment, Gifford Pinchot helped found the Yale School of Forestry and created the U.S. Forest Service, serving as its first chief.
Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen Germany Pioneer of the rural bond of association as a substitute for collateral in microfinance, and a principal founder of the credit union and cooperative bank sectors that now form a major segment of the European banking system.
Verghese Kurien India Engineer and businessman, he planned and executed India's "white revolution", that transformed the milk-importing country into the world’s largest produce .
Margaret Sanger United States Founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she led the movement for family planning efforts around the world.
John Woolman United States He Led U.S. Quakers to voluntarily emancipate all their slaves between 1758 and 1800, his work also influenced the British Society of Friends, a major force behind the British decision to ban slaveholding.
Sam Pitroda India Chairman, National Innovation Council, India
Adhik Kadam India Founder Chairman of Borderless World Foundation. He is on peace building mission, working in most conflicted areas in Asia i.e Jammu & Kashmir on India Pakistan Border. He is working for the children who lost parents in terrorism and conflict.
Arunachalam Muruganantham India Inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine.

Notable modern social entrepreneursEdit

Name Country Social venture founded Focus areas
Fazle Hasan Abed Bangladesh BRAC poverty reduction, banking, food security, education, woman empowerment
Ibrahim Abouleish Egypt SEKEM Agriculture
Poonam Ahluwalia United States Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Poverty
Vagit Alekperov Russia Our Future Foundation Social entrepreneurship
Gennady Alferenko Russia Foundation for Social Inventions National relations/Civil diplomacy
Zubaida Bai India AYZH Healthcare
Scott Beale United States Atlas Service Corps U.S./International volunteering
Daniel Ben-Horin United States TechSoup Global Nonprofit support
Charles Best United States DonorsChoose Charitable crowdfunding
Ela Bhatt India Self Employed Women's Association Poverty
Taddy Blecher South Africa CIDA City Campus Education
Heather Brandon United Kingdom UnLtd South Africa Social entrepreneurship
Nand Kishore Chaudhary India Jaipur Rugs Poverty
Bill Clinton United States Clinton Foundation Poverty
Vera Cordeiro Brazil Brazil Child Health Health
Ann Cotton United Kingdom Camfed Poverty
Matt Damon United States Water
Jim Fruchterman United States Benetech Technology
Bill Gates United States Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Education, healthcare, ending poverty
Abraham George India The George Foundation Poverty
Scott Gilmore Canada Building Markets Employment
Anshu Gupta India Goonj Clothing, disaster relief
Scott Harrison United States Charity: Water Water
Catherine Hoke United States Defy Ventures Incarceration and recidivism
Jeffrey Hollender United States Seventh Generation Inc. Environment
Jessica Jackley United States Kiva Microfunds Poverty, microfinance
Adhik Kadam India Borderless World Foundation Peace-building, peace & conflict, women, children, emergency medical services in conflict.
Salman Khan United States Khan Academy Education
Alan Khazei United States City Year Education
Craig Kielburger Canada WE Charity / Me to WE Human rights
Marc Kielburger Canada WE Charity / ME to WE Human rights
Mohammed Mamdani United Kingdom Sufra Poverty
Nick Martin United States TechChange Education
Ilya Movshovich United States CARMAnation Technology
Blake Mycoskie United States Toms Shoes Poverty
Jacqueline Novogratz United States Acumen Poverty
Jamie Oliver United Kingdom Fifteen Health
Raj Panjabi United States Last Mile Health Healthcare
Mark Plotkin United States Amazon Conservation Team Environment
Bunker Roy India Barefoot College Education
Miyoko Schinner United States Multiple Vegan Food and Activism
Jasvir Singh United Kingdom City Sikhs Interfaith, social cohesion
Param Singh United Kingdom City Sikhs Interfaith, social cohesion
Willie Smits Indonesia Borneo Orangutan Survival Environment
Piya Sorcar United States TeachAids Health, education
Bhargav Sri Prakash India / United States fooya FriendsLearn Digital vaccines for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension & cancer prevention
Hanumappa Sudarshan India Karuna Trust upliftment of the forest dwelling tribes
Bo Thao-Urabe United States RedGreen Rivers Woman empowerment, poverty reduction
Chris Underhill United Kingdom BasicNeeds Health, poverty
Christian Vater Germany Deutschland rundet auf Poverty, micro-donation
Frederick Yeh United States / China Sea Turtles 911 Environment, Education, Wildlife Conservation
Muhammad Yunus Bangladesh Grameen Bank Poverty, microfinance
Matthew Spacie Britain Magic Bus Childhood to Livelihood
Shaheen Mistri India Teach For India, Akanksha Foundation Education
Harish Hande India SELCO Solar energy
Ranjan Mistry India Women School of Entrepreneurship, Campus Varta, Womenia Chakra Foundation Poverty, Education, Entrepreneurship
Bam Aquino Philippines Hapinoy Poverty Reduction


  1. ^ "What is a Social Entrepreneur". Enterprising Ideas. PBS Foundation. A social entrepreneur, in our view, is a person or entity that takes a business approach to effectively solving a social problem.