Although social entrepreneurship has become increasingly trendy in recent years, social entrepreneurs have been making an impact for decades. This post looks at three of the most notable social entrepreneurs in history. Each entrepreneur listed below is a testament to the fact that monetary success and social change do not have to cross each other out. With the right business model and the right idea, success in both areas can be achieved.
Bill Drayton is credited with popularizing the term social entrepreneurship. In 1980 he created Ashoka, an organization that focuses on assisting social entrepreneurs. Ashoka fellows receive a stipend from the organization that helps funds their living expenses rather than their social enterprise. As a result, the fellows are able to exclusively focus on getting their enterprise to a point where it can become self-sustaining. By funding entrepreneurs, Drayton’s organization has helped make a significant impact throughout the world. Drayton’s work isn’t limited to Ashoka. He is also the chairman of Get America Working!, an organization that advocates the elimination of payroll taxes and the adoption of pollution taxes in order to decrease the price of labor and increase employment.
Muhammad Yunus is a pioneer of microcredit and microfinance. Because of his work with Grameen Bank (GB), he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. GB allows the poorest people in Bangladesh to receive collateral without any collateral. Usually, these individuals would be unable to secure any loans. However, with the help of GB, they have been able to pursue new business ideas or expand their current business. GB is particularly concerned with supporting women since women in India typically earn less income than men. Although Yunus has faced accusations of tax evasion in recent years, GB continues to operate and help individuals achieve their dreams.
For ten years Scott Harrison worked as a club promoter. After a trip to Uruguay, though, he realized that he wanted to make a difference in the world. He spent two years volunteering aboard Mercy Ships and then decided to create Charity: Water in 2006. Charity: Water focuses on creating “sustainable, community-owned water projects around the world” (How We Work). The organization focuses on water because so many people do not have access to clean water. When water is dirty, there is an increase in diseases, and people must spend more time searching for clean water.
If you are interested in learning more about individual social entrepreneurs, take a look at this list.