Social Entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurs utilize startup methodologies to address pressing social problems. They combine the best of business and philanthropy into a single business model.

Who are the Social Entrepreneurs?

Social entrepreneurs make a dollar and a difference. I have often thought that I should write a post that defines what I mean by “social entrepreneur,” and yet I have hesitated. But, since I run a radio program and a podcast called Social Entrepreneur, I should define the term as I understand it. I want to be clear that I am not the arbiter of who is and is not a social entrepreneur. There are many who have defined the term. Ashoka, Echoing Green, The Schwab Foundation for Entrepreneurship, The Skoll Foundation, the Social Enterprise Alliance, and many others have provided their definition. I would also recommend the book Getting Beyond Better: How…

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Who are the Social Entrepreneurs?

A Catalyst for Caring and Building Community, with Rose McGee, Sweet Potato Comfort Pies

Rose McGee reminds me of that quote from tennis legend Arthur Ashe. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Rose calls sweet potato pie “the sacred desert of black culture.” She grew up with her grandmother and great-grandmother in Jackson, Tennessee. As an adult, Rose decided that she wanted to make sweet potato pie. She called her grandmother and got the recipe. “Nothing was written down,” she says. “It was a pinch of this and a handful of that.” Rose’s first experiments with making sweet potato pie did not turn out. But she kept baking. Soon, friends were requesting her pies. And after a while,…

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Experimenting within an Ecosystem, with Eric Sannerud, Mighty Axe Hops

Mighty Axe Hops is using experimentation to create an ecosystem within an ecosystem. Eric Sannerud approaches life like a scientific experiment. He tries small experiments, gathers feedback and then adjusts. For example, in 2013, he was graduating from the University of Minnesota. At the same time, he had several irons in the fire. He was part of a team that launched Twin Fin, an innovative urban farm start-up, growing fish and greens in a city warehouse. At the same time, he was involved with the Famers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG). He was also working with Urban Oasis, the winner of a $1 million Forever Saint Paul Competition to create a…

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Turn Emotions into Action

What will you do with your emotions today? Can they be channeled for social good? President Obama has left the White House after eight years and the man who is taking his place could not be more different. No matter your political affiliation, this inauguration day is a day of strong emotions. Emotions are important. By paying attention to what evokes strong emotions in you, you learn something about your values and your life’s purpose. By Noticing Your Emotions, You Understand Your Purpose For you, what creates a sense of love, empathy, injustice, disgust or moral outrage? What kind of news stories evoke your emotions? Is it poverty? Gender equality? Income…

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Turn Emotions into Action

12 Most Popular Podcast Guests of 2016

These are the most popular podcast guests of 2016, measured by the number of downloads. If you have been listening to the podcast Social Entrepreneur, you’ve had a chance to meet some amazing changemaker. If you want to find someone like you who is making a difference in the world, you should be able to see yourself among these 140+ guests. Their diversity is breathtaking. They have come from every continent, except for Antarctica. Some have achieved breakthrough results, while others are just beginning their journey. Some started young and some started in mid-life. Half were women. They are working across all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Popular Podcast Guests…

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12 Most Popular Podcast Guests of 2016

104, Adam Force, Change Creator | A Multimedia Platform for Business with a Purpose

This is what happens when podcasters interview podcasters. As two podcasters, Adam Force and I have a great time going back and forth in this engaging interview. Adam tells the story of how he started Change Creator and what it is that he is hoping to do. Adam was sitting on a beach in Costa Rica when the direction of his life shifted. At the time he and his wife were living in New York. They had taken a trip to Costa Rica in order to recharge. While sitting quietly and connecting to nature, Adam suddenly realized that his life should mean more – needed to mean more. With more…

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We Need You…to be a social entrepreneur

The world is filled with global grand challenges and worthy causes. Business as usual cannot meet these challenges. These challenges are so large, they require all of us. It requires you. But doing what? The answer is social entrepreneurship, businesses with both a profit and a purpose. There are barriers that can keep you from starting. We’re here to overcome those barriers. The Problems That Demand Social Entrepreneurship We’re all familiar with the challenges faced by developing countries. We struggle with poverty, hunger and disease. There is a lack of opportunity for education, especially for girls and women. Climate change is creating extreme weather, including drought. This exasperates youth unemployment and…

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We Need You…to be a social entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction

Social entrepreneurship is, in its simplest terms, the utilization of business practices to fundamentally change the most intractable issues of our time. Having said that, I feel like I should quickly add, “But wait! There’s more!” In recent years, entrepreneurs of all types have profoundly altered the marketplace. Companies like Dropbox, Airbnb and Red Hat have transformed their industries. What if we could utilize the incredible power of startups to permanently change the landscape of social and environmental issues such as climate change, food security and access to clean water? That’s what social entrepreneurship does. Definition of Social Entrepreneurship Bill Drayton, Ashoka founder and CEO seems to have coined the term social entrepreneur. According…

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Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction

Our Top 12 Downloads of 2015

What a rush! The podcast, Social Entrepreneur launched on November 8, 2015. In the last two months of 2015, we featured 25 interviews with a wide array of social entrepreneurs and thought leaders. I spoke with founders from Peru, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Uganda, India, Rwanda, Malaysia, South Africa, Australia, Kenya, Indonesia, Canada, and the United States. They ran for-profit, nonprofit, hybrid organizations and university programs. Some ran incubators and many came through an accelerator program. They made me laugh, surprised me (I’m looking at you, Carrie Rich!) and always inspired me. Social Entrepreneur Organizations In this article, I’ll tell you a little about twelve of them and invite you to hear…

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013, Jim Smith, MadiDrop | From Academic Researcher to Founder

When I say “early stage entrepreneur,” whom do you picture? A hungry young person in a hoodie, eating Raman noodles and cranking out code? While this might be the prototype, more and more social entrepreneurs are looking more like Jim Smith. Jim is an academic and a scientist. He spends most days in deep research and in the classroom at the University of Virginia. However, thorough a series of synchronous events, Jim was jarred into the world of hands-on entrepreneurship in some of the most underserved communities of the world. Jim Smith is an advisor and serves on the board of PureMadi, where they developed a sustainable, ceramic water filter….

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013, Jim Smith, MadiDrop | From Academic Researcher to Founder