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What makes a social entrepreneur?


Social Entrepreneur. Photo: yayimages


The trend for social entrepreneurship is growing, but what qualities are associated with social entrepreneurship? We delved into the topic and discovered that social entrepreneurs share similar traits:

They are self-critical

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”  - John Calvin Maxwell 

Social entrepreneurs tackle their mistakes head on. If they steer off course, they summon up the courage to get back on it and remain humble about it.

They remain humble

"There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”  - Ronald Wilson Reagan

Social entrepreneurs always keep their eye on the bigger prize: the social benefits of what they’re doing, and they don’t care who gets the credit as long as the mission is fulfilled. They know a brand or company blossoms as the result of learning from its struggles and triumphs.

Collaboration Is the key to success

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  - African proverb

Social entrepreneurssee collaboration as they key to success. When collaborating the social entrepreneur isn’t precious about boosting his or her own profile. They tend to easily share recognition and credit, which helps build and cement beneficial relationships with key partners, thereby increasing the chances of success. Collaboration helps keep social entrepreneurs focused on the mission.

They innovate

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  - Gandhi

In the eighteenth century the French term ‘entrepreneur’ referred to civil engineersand architects who innovated to create new roads and bridges. Social entrepreneurs refuse to accept outdated norms and structures and instead they achieve positive social impact by breaking the traditional mold of entrepreneurship and by innovating.

They use a multi-disciplinary approach

“Breakthrough innovation occurs when we bring down boundaries and encourage disciplines to learn from each other” - Gyan Nagpal

Successful social entrepreneurs draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources and sectors. They see what works well in different fields and bring the knowledge together for a more holistic approach to entrepreneurship.

They work behind the scenes

“If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.” - Emily Bronte

Throughout history many great scientists, writers, inventors and artists became known long after their ‘great work’ was recognized. This is because they’re happy working quietly behind the scenes. Many social entrepreneurs display this characteristic. They’re quite happy left on their own to get on with things.

They have strong ethics

“Science brings society to the next level; ethics keeps us there."  - Dr. Hal Simeroth

Successful social entrepreneurs wear their ethics on their sleeves and aren’t fueled by a drive to become famous or build a fortune, but rather a desire to restore justice in society and to address social problems. Their strong ethics are simply who they are and they reverberate through every aspect of their lives. They focus on the cause and customers, and not their investors.

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