They are visionaries, but also realists. They offer cutting-edge answers to urgent social, health and humanitarian problems. They exist in a space somewhere between classical entrepreneurialism and charitable work. Yet what differentiates social entrepreneurs from charity?
While both are run using a not-for-profit model, social enterprises take an entrepreneurial approach to pursuing a social mission. Charities meanwhile exist largely from private donations, and are not managed like a business. Many are still operated through religious organisations.
In the last few decades, social entrepreneurship has demonstrated its power to create momentous social change. The global financial crisis and devastating natural disasters in parts of Asia, Africa and even Europe have spurred social entrepreneurs to intervene instead of waiting for governments or businesses to take action.