Social Entrepreneur Vs Business Entrepreneur: What’s the Big Difference?

You’ve probably heard of the term “social entrepreneur” and was left confused as to what that could mean. What exactly is that role and what makes that person different from the usual one?

First, what is our basic idea of an entrepreneur? If we define an entrepreneur, he is an innovative person who seeks to answer a current demand on a product or service. Now, we bring in the word “social” to the mix and what difference does it make? Basically we define a social entrepreneur as still being an entrepreneur since he still earns an income and gains a profit by providing services or selling products. However, what makes one different though is that while the usual entrepreneur is driven by profit, a social entrepreneur is driven by social change.

He is someone who seeks to answer society’s social problems with his services or products. Though there is profit to be had, this is not the main driving goal of a social entrepreneur. What he seeks is to promote change and affect society through his products or services. That is what makes him different from the usual enterprising businessman. Businessmen build industries, social entrepreneurs try to build a better society.

It might sound noble and in fact, it is. There is something noble about an enterprising person who could have earned more just by going through the usual business path, but he instead decided to effect change by introducing innovative products and services. If entrepreneurs face hardships when starting their business, social entrepreneurs face double. Most of the time, they introduce a product or service that is not what people are used to and what they wouldn’t even try. To be successful, a social businessman has to educate his target market and basically encourage them to change their view, lifestyle or habit – definitely not an easy task.

Need a bit more help in understand how one works? It might be better to give examples like the following people.

Florence Nightingale is one because she established the first nursing school and she did so in order to elevate the medical profession and improve patient care and hospital conditions. Though she might have earned enough from setting up a school, the change that she effected is still much bigger and more relevant than whatever business aspect her school had.

Dr. Maria Montessori is another example since she strove to provide better early child education by introducing a new approach and program. By setting up her school, she helped the development of many children, not just academically but emotionally and psychologically.

As you can see, the primary motive of social entrepreneurism is definitely to effect change. Profit is only second and in most cases, does not even figure at all. They are definitely what the world needs right now as we are plagued with poverty, climate change, corruption and other major problems.