What is a Social Entrepreneur?

Originally published on


When starting a new business, entrepreneurs often aim to provide unique solutions, business practices, customer service, and economic models. Social entrepreneurs take these goals further and strive to do all of these with the addition of wanting to take social responsibility and improve the world in some way. There are many reasons for becoming a social entrepreneur. Some individuals may be particularly compelled by a select cause, or they might find a profitable opportunity that coincides with the facilitation of social change.


What drives social entrepreneurs can be vastly different from individual to individual. Some social entrepreneurs strive to fund the protection of animals, provide educational resources to disenfranchised individuals in developing nations, or fight discrimination based on race or gender. The motivators for social entrepreneurs can encompass anything that involves changing the world as it currently exists, and the course of action each entrepreneur takes will vary, as well.

Social Impact

While enacting social change is a cornerstone for most social entrepreneurs, this goal does not have to directly correlate to their business model and the products or services they offer. Many social entrepreneurs seek to provide a service or good that is already available, but by implementing conscious practices (such as using cruelty-free materials or making a promise to conduct beneficial actions for every purchase), social entrepreneurs strive to change the nature of business and entrepreneurship.


Of course, as business owners and visionaries, social entrepreneurs still want to make a profit. Whatever their business model or practices are, they must operate in a way that generates revenue without compromising their ideals. However, social entrepreneurs may be less focused on earning a significant amount of money for themselves; if they are passionate about their cause, part of their reward can simply entail participating in their work, and they may also choose to donate some of their proceeds to reputable organizations.

Each entrepreneur is different and has different aspirations. Beyond managing a successful business and supporting a cause that is meaningful to them, social entrepreneurs strive to make a difference in the world around them. Breaking the traditional mold of what it means to be an entrepreneur demonstrates their passion and desire to facilitate meaningful changes.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Entrepreneurs Are Only as Good as Their Support Groups

by Nathalie Virem

Inside the Mind of a Social-Impact Entrepreneur

by Davida Ginter

Ikigai For Entrepreneurs

by Kacy Qua

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.