Talk:Social entrepreneurship

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On a Consensus Definition, and Other ThoughtsEdit

I do believe that there is a consensus among those working in the field as to what is meant by "social entrepreneur". While that definition is broad (and the term is increasingly something of a buzzword) and there are, indeed, many different groups of people working in this area, an underlying consensus as to what it meant nevertheless does exist (at least among the people who are championing the term). The scope of the definition is not written in stone but what is meant is clear as of the time of this writing.

It is unfortunate that more has not been written on this Wiki page pertaining to the work of the many individuals and groups referenced (so that what you had was mostly a collection of links). These links, however, are all on topic and appropriate -- and I do think that for the most part they all, in fact, do belong on the Article page (perhaps with expanded explanatory text).

What is important to understand is that social entrepreneurs do not work in a vacuum.

While the links below represent many different individuals and groups, there is considerable dialogue between most of these people and groups. Social entrepreneurship is social. Social entrepreneurs and those who support them are natural collaborators.

You do not have a collection of separate and distinct sources here -- each talking about something different. What these links represent is the surface of the dialogue and work of many people and groups around the world, all focused around a common theme (that theme being social entrepreneurship). There are numerous ongoing discussions, collaborations, and partnerships both formal and informal.

Ashoka has played an integral part in leading what we see as the emergent field of social entrepreneurship. We personally know most of the players cited (in many cases, they are Ashoka Fellows or partners or collaborators). We are very much team players so it ought not to be difficult for us to contribute from the third-party "we" perspective.

I am tabling this discussion for my colleagues here at Ashoka so that we can figure out how we can best contribute in a way that maintains and respects the integrity of the Wiki encyclopedia.

Writing encyclopedias is not the mainstay of our work (needless to say) and there are of course limits to our time and resources for this. But I do believe you can look forward to a contribution here of far greater substance. We want to do something really good with these pages.

Thank you again for all of your help! Very much appreciated.

Tom Boone,

Hi Tom, thanks for adding your expertise to the project.
I think you're right that there is a broad consensus on what Social Entrepreneurship is. I think there is more disagreement about how to express it because it is broad, and because it covers very diverse viewpoints (so words have different meaning to people from those viewpoints). This article doesn't do a great job of summarizing the breadth or scope well. It's great that you're looking to get more involved. Do you have a suggestion for rewording the lead and definition?
I disagree that this article should be about individual projects and organizations. This should be an encyclopedia article rather than a portal (though a social sector portal would be a great addition to Wikipedia). As an encyclopedia we shouldn't be writing a piece that points to all the great projects there are. The article on medicine doesn't link to all the great doctors healing people. For the most part readers should be able to get a clear idea of what social entrepreneurship is, how it has evolved over time, what it's impact is thought to be, how it is perceived in the wider world, and what the defining moments in its history have been all by reading this article. Articles on Wikipedia are supposed to summarize verified research that has already been published about social entrepreneurship, maintaining a neutral point of view. And I don't really see the listing of organizations and projects as doing that.--Siobhan Hansa 20:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi both. I can see that this was becoming a Directory page, so had to be amended. But it seems strange having done so to then pick what seems like two fairly arbitrary (US-based) examples (Social Edge and Kiva) when there are many others in both areas. Ashoka do have a big part in the history of the movement, but this page risks becoming US-leaning; the MIT publication is far from being directly related to social entrepreneurship, for example, whilst, of 9 organisations quoted, 8 are from the US. Are Fast Company and more credible than other articles/foundations? Is social entrepreneurship primarily about US-based organisations funding a few prominent individuals operating in the developing world?
Generally, I would say the broad thrust is correct, but could be fleshed out: on the definition discussion; on the spectrum along which social entrepreneurs work; about how the debate is about a way of doing things vs. a model of doing things (person/approach/mindset/traits vs. model/earned income/hybrid structure) and so forth.
Happy to help in any way we can. Thought I'd post this rather than dive in and edit!
Nick Temple, School for Social Entrepreneurs.NickTemple 12:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd love to see a wider perspective represented, I'm afraid mine is limited by own mainly US-based experience. I'm not particularly fighting for the ones I left in - replacing them with better or more representative examples sounds like a great idea. and broadening the scope would also be good - so long as what is added actually provides new information about social entrepreneurship. Who do you suggest should be included? -- Siobhan Hansa 14:29, 5 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry it's taken me so long to reply. On the definition stuff, and the outcomes vs. process debate, I think Gregory Dees at CASE/Duke speaks most sense, and is good on the broad scope of social entrepreneurship. See and an interview I quote here:
As for other (non-US organisations), I would unsurprisingly add ourselves but also Community Action Network who, along with UnLtd, are probably the 3 leading UK players. Elsewhere, I am less strong as well, although there is Enterprising Non-Profits in Canada, KaosPilots in Denmark, HoneyBee Network in India and so on.
For marketplaces, I guess UniversalGiving and GlobalGiving have as much right as Kiva? I can go with SocialEdge as it is more genuinely international. In publications, though, I would say the Stanford Social Innovation review is much more relevant than the MIT one. Though even it is perhaps not specific enough to social entrepreneurship.
Personally, I would cut stuff like the Draper Richards Foundation and the Manhattan Institute. The Acumen Fund is probably more widely known outside the US for social entrepreneurship activity.
Hope that's of some help; though am happy to be ignored, of course....NickTemple 14:45, 7 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
NB - on the importance of it being wider than just US, have restored some UK examples after they were removed. Social entrepreneurship is not a US-only concept. NickTemple 12:50, 14 January 2008

I would like to take a fairly significant edit on this page based on my research efforts. Would anybody like to be directly involved in the revision? Philip DesAutels 15:44, 15 May 2008 (EDT)

Just thought I'd mention that Fast Company has apparently not published their "list of the twenty-five best social entrepreneurs" (aka "Social Capitalist Awards") since 2008.Joachimboaz (talk) 20:10, 4 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scope of definitionEdit

  • I did a fair bit of editing of this page today... mostly re-organizing the links. Ideally it will evolve beyond a collection of links, but because this phrase still means many different things to different folks, it seems like a good first step to find out the scope of how it is being used and defined. What do others think? --Smarbin 08:15, 8 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External linksEdit

This article was basically a collection of external links, which Wikipedia is explicitly not intended to be. So I've moved them here (leaving the two that seemed like they added the most value - i'm not wedded to them though). I've moved them here to help editors in building the article.

Definitions of Social EntrepreneurshipEdit

School ProgramsEdit

School Program - U.S.Edit

School Programs - U.K.Edit

School Programs - CanadaEdit

School Programs - FranceEdit

HEC Paris Business School, France




Books on Social EntrepreneurshipEdit



--Siobhan Hansa 00:36, 16 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Etymology of social entrepreneurEdit

I'm a little wary of the claim and source that Bill Drayton "coined" the term social entrepreneur. Drayton has certainly been key in popularizing the term and bringing the concept before the public, but the idea that he came up with the term has the flavor of urban legend. But the source for actually being the one to "coin" social entrepreneur is a newspaper article which repeats the idea with providing any detail or showing any sort of source. A good newspaper is fine for reporting on general events, but etymology is a highly specialized field. Even from the story in the paper, a brief Internet search shows use of the term in print from at least 1958* - five years (according to the source quoted) before the Drayton was even thinking about these things.

I don't think this is a huge part of the article, but I do think an encyclopedia should make an effort not to perpetuate common but mistaken memes. Other thoughts?

* Using a search on the phrase "Social Entrepreneur" brings up: The Post Standard, The (Newspaper) - May 8, 1958, Syracuse, New York; and the Post Standard (Newspaper) - December 10, 1961, Syracuse, New York that use the phrase, there may be others (full articles available from for a fee...). --Siobhan Hansa 15:26, 3 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Socialistic capitalismEdit

Can a section be added to socialistic capitalism (added request for it at capitalism article) (saw term in time magazine, march 2009: 10 ideas changing the world right now, idea 9). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:48, 19 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removal of sectionEdit

I removed a section of this article because it was unsourced and seemed to be rather speculative, with support from nothing more than "anecdotal" evidence. I'd be happy to work on this attempt to define the patterns of social entrepreneurs, but insist on sources. Nutson11 (talk) 04:32, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plan to revise articleEdit

The existing article on social entrepreneurship is rated C-class, and though it is relatively well-written, I believe that a few changes will make this article even better, hopefully to a B-class article. Currently, the article has large sections on "History" and "Current practice," but those are the two only substantial sections of the article. The article would benefit from greater depth and expansion of the article with several new sections and subsections, most notably in expanding the definition of social entrepreneurship in practice, and making subsections about key figures, an online presence, and major organizations involved. A "case studies" section will serve to further develop the definition of social entrepreneurship to help see how it applies to society today. A section on public opinion can provide a view on the net impact that social entrepreneurship has had on people. As philip.desautels mentioned, there is some debate on the definition of social entrepreneurship, and my vision is that by both helping to cement the idea of social entrepreneurship as a theory and practice, any ambiguities about the definition and the ideas it encompasses can be cleared up. Deniselee26 (talk) 22:03, 23 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Peer review of student contributionEdit

I believe that the work that Deniselee26 has done on this article so far is well done and valuable. The breadth of information that the article covers is impressive, and the quality has definitely been augmented by the inclusive of a case study section to ground the general statements in real activities. For future revisions, I would suggest paying close attention the neutrality issues. Some of the sections, particularly in the case study section, read like endorsements of the projects or their mission statements. Certainly many of these projects have done great work, but no project is without its critics (especially in the case of Yunus). Adding objective language and criticism to these sections would restore some balance to the article. Furthermore, the reference section is in need of care. There is no standard form that the sources take, be that MLA or APA, so it is difficult to verify the legitimacy of the sources. Some work here in cleaning up the sources would be very valuable for further research by the reader. DerekHolliday (talk) 22:41, 31 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response to DerekHollidayEdit

Hello! Thank you very much for your response and constructive feedback. I have taken your advice and cleaned up all the citations in the article, as well as adding more scholarly sources to support my statements. I have also edited many sections of the article for neutrality. I look forward to continuing my edits to this article to further improve it.Deniselee26 (talk) 04:39, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Peer review of Deniselee26's contributionsEdit

Deniselee26 has done a lot of good work expanding this article. However, I am concerned with the amount of space the article devotes to specific organizations. These sections have neutrality issues, and read more like sales pitches or PSAs than summaries. The Bridge Bread section was a particular offender of this- it even concluded with a call to visit their website. This belongs in the external links, not the article text. Also explain why these case studies belong in the article- perhaps preface each case study with something like "this organization was one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in 2011". Other neutrality issues include phrases like "utter abandonment" (emotionally charged) and "this argument is unlikely to be resolved soon" (obviously your own opinion, not sourced in any way). I think that focusing the efforts of this article on the more general aspects of social entrepreneurship, like the definition, history, etc. will be the best way to proceed. Make sure that you take advantage of your access to scholastic journals- rely less on secondary sources like websites and news articles. Also make sure that you discuss the negative aspects of social entrepreneurship- I know that some scholars consider Western corporations "helping" indigenous peoples as a form of imperialism. Discuss corruption issues as well. Finally, try to make the article more readable to a general audience. Many of your sentences are long-winded and complex. Revise them so that they are shorter, simpler, and more direct. Overall you've done a great job expanding this article! Be sure to add some images- perhaps of the specific entrepreneurs you mention- to make the article more appealing to read.

Samanthaplove (talk) 23:28, 31 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response to SamanthaploveEdit

Thank you very much for your constructive feedback! Many of the neutrality issues arose from other posters who posted specific examples of organizations that exemplified social entrepreneurship. Given the nature of this article, it is very difficult to describe such concepts without providing examples. However, I have limited the dominance of any one organization in any section of the article and have worked on remaining neutral. I also added several images to help conceptualize social entrepreneurship. Thank you for your constructive feedback, and I look forward to continuing to edit the article! Deniselee26 (talk) 04:41, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section on "Characteristics of a Social Entrepreneur"Edit

I have again reverted the recent addition of a section on "Characteristics of a Social Entrepreneur".[3] The added content had serious WP:NPOV issues, and presented a number of subjective assessments as objective facts. Much of it was flattering, but excessively vague (WP:PEACOCK): "Taking creativity to the next level", "In order to change the world, one must be different from the world", "Success for a social entrepreneur is attained through motivation..." None of this is especially meaningful. Honestly, it reads more like a kids scouting pledge than an encyclopedia. The statement that "...six main qualities have shown up in each social entrepreneurial study" appears to be WP:OR, since the sources didn't agree on those six. One used ten criteria, another used five. Implying that six is definitive is WP:SYNTH, and is inappropriate. Grayfell (talk) 21:09, 7 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response to GrayfellEdit

Apologies on the constant irritation and poorly written section. In regards to continually re-adding the section, I had not realized you had deleted it until now (I thought that I had technical issues). As to being poorly written, I appreciate the feedback, and I will revise the section accordingly.

Cocoabean136 (talk) 04:09, 14 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Cocoabean136: Thank you for discussing this, sorry if this was harsh. The article should be neutral about social entrepreneurship as a concept. Any value judgement needs to be clearly attributed to a notable source, and should be presented as such. Thanks. Grayfell (talk) 04:27, 14 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Planning a Child Article on Social Entrepreneurship in India/South AsiaEdit

Social entrepreneurship has become a buzzword in the United States and represents a growing movement of businesses that can capitalize on social good. While exciting to see here, I feel like we often don’t hear about its existence in other parts of the world. South Asian countries represent a rapidly developing market, where entrepreneurship, specifically social entrepreneurship, is being adopted in wide numbers. These social entrepreneurial businesses are focused on solving social problems in a meaningful way. They are also helping to catalyze a people-centric economy, focused on developing capabilities first before making a profit. South Asia is also not a newcomer to social entrepreneurship. Unbeknownst to a larger Western audience, the pioneer of microcredit, Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize winner, is from Bangladesh. Therefore, there is a lot of history in the region, and I’d like to explore that along with the current climate and the challenges of social entrepreneurship.

Key areas of my current proposal can be found on my Sandbox page.

Wickersong (talk) 08:31, 6 September 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggested PostingEdit

Fellow editors, I wish to post this article: Would like to get your comments.


LOBOSKYJOJO (talk) 11:45, 26 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Social entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship refers to the “altruistic form of entrepreneurship focusing on effecting positive social change by making use of resources available to society.” Source: Social Responsibilities of the Businessman By Howard R. Bowen University of Iowa Press 1953 According to the Harvard Business Review (December 6, 2018), Deloitte (UK) said that private enterprises are expected to help in addressing challenging social issues of the times. These problems include health, destitution, and promoting sustainable development. Social entrepreneurships originate from an idea or concept. Entrepreneurs must select a cause they believe in and are enthusiastic about. It requires prevalent social impact on target communities with sustainable solutions for difficult and inherent problems. Research confirmed that organizations with entrepreneurial dynamics and social aims have expanded in various nations. Therefore. Social entrepreneurs deserve the attention of policy-makers, academicians, and other stakeholders. Source: The Emergence of Social Enterprise Carlo Borzaga and Jacques Defourney Routledge, London (2004)

  • The article already exists and contains all the points you want to address. Andyjsmith (talk) 16:55, 26 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]