How Do You Recognize a Social Entrepreneur?

Posted on May 21, 2013 by


As we explore deeper in our new Social Change Series at #SMCHAT (every 4th WEDS at 1pET), we need to advance our working definition of the modern day Social Entrepreneur.


Like so much else in the 21st century, social-happy world, we’re quick to coin a new phrase, assign it a hashtag (like #socent for example!) and start talking about it like it was always there.

Not so fast, this time.

If we’re going to achieve meaningful social change of any kind, we need to tap into and amass innovators of a special variety, people who understand social forces, with innate skills for building social capital and stakeholder networks, while having both the drive and stamina to survive constant challenges, dead-ends, and frequent demands to regroup.

I’ve seen several articles that describe the characteristics of Entrepreneurs.  Here’s a great one from The Huffington Post that recaps the 21st century Entrepreneur quite well, written by Faisal Hoque (and shared via a timely tweet by Ann Marie Bland).

Bookmark this post and refer back to it, as I will.  It’s a great launching point for our discussion.

So let’s imagine one of the people he describes.  A Social Entrepreneur would have tenacity and social skills, deep levels of energy and drive.  They’d be a strategic thinker who wants to make an impact.   It’s someone we’d clearly like to partner with, to support, or even just to get to know.  It’s a compelling role model.

Trouble is, where do we go to find people like this?  After all, people look pretty much like people.

I think we need some clues that will help us track down these prized agents of social change, and add them to our social networks.

At #SMCHAT WEDS 5/22, we’ll start to unpack the challenge of networking with Social Entrepreneurs, and knowing how to recognize one when we find them. Here are some questions to frame the pursuit.

  • Q1. What are the telltale signs of a Social Entrepreneur in public settings? What will they be doing?
  • Q2. Where do Social Entrepreneurs like to congregate?
  • Q3. What will a Social Entrepreneur be looking for, and how can you help them?
  • Q4. In what social change scenarios .. and in what conditions .. will a Social Entrepreneur drive the greatest impact, and why?

I hope you’ll join us for the conversation, and share your ideas.  Social Change is hard work, and it will take a small army of Social Entrepreneurs to even start to make a dent.  We might as well a start now :)

As always, looking forward ..

Chris aka @sourcepov

Posted in: Social Change