types of social entrepreneurship,7 Types of Social Entrepreneurship

types of social entrepreneurship

7 Types of Social Entrepreneurship You Should Know About

Social entrepreneurship is an approach that aims to create and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. Social entrepreneurs are individuals or organizations that use innovative methods to address these challenges and generate positive social impact.

There are different types of social entrepreneurship, depending on the goals, strategies, and structures of the social ventures. In this article, we will explore seven types of social entrepreneurship that you should know about.

1. Non-profit organization

A non-profit organization is a type of social entrepreneurship that operates without the intention of making a profit. Instead, it reinvests any surplus income into its social mission. Non-profit organizations often rely on donations, grants, or volunteers to fund and run their activities. Examples of non-profit organizations include charities, foundations, NGOs, and advocacy groups.


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2. Co-operative society

A co-operative society is a type of social entrepreneurship that is owned and controlled by its members, who share a common interest or goal. Co-operative societies aim to provide goods or services that benefit their members and the wider community. They also distribute any profits among their members according to their contribution or participation. Examples of co-operative societies include credit unions, housing co-ops, worker co-ops, and consumer co-ops.

3. Social enterprise

A social enterprise is a type of social entrepreneurship that operates as a business but has a primary social or environmental purpose. Social enterprises generate revenue from selling goods or services that address a social need or create a positive change. They also reinvest a significant portion of their profits into their social mission. Examples of social enterprises include fair trade companies, ethical fashion brands, social impact consulting firms, and B Corps.

4. Community project

A community project is a type of social entrepreneurship that involves local people in identifying and solving a problem in their community. Community projects are often initiated by individuals or groups who have a personal connection or experience with the issue. They also engage other stakeholders such as residents, businesses, government agencies, or NGOs in the process. Examples of community projects include community gardens, neighborhood clean-ups, local festivals, and community arts programs.

5. Special purpose business

A special purpose business is a type of social entrepreneurship that is created for a specific social or environmental cause. Special purpose businesses are usually temporary or short-term ventures that aim to raise awareness, mobilize resources, or influence policy on a particular issue. They may operate as for-profit or non-profit entities depending on their legal structure and funding sources. Examples of special purpose businesses include crowdfunding campaigns, social media campaigns, pop-up shops, and advocacy events.

6. Community social entrepreneur

A community social entrepreneur is a type of social entrepreneur who focuses on addressing the needs and opportunities of a specific community or population group. Community social entrepreneurs often have a deep understanding of the local context and culture and leverage their networks and relationships to create impact. They may operate across different sectors and levels of society depending on the nature and scope of their work. Examples of community social entrepreneurs include local leaders, activists, educators, and innovators.

7. Transformational social entrepreneur

A transformational social entrepreneur is a type of social entrepreneur who aims to create systemic change in society by challenging the status quo and influencing the behavior and mindset of others. Transformational social entrepreneurs often have a visionary and ambitious vision and use disruptive and innovative methods to achieve it. They may operate at the global or national level and collaborate with various actors and stakeholders across different sectors and domains. Examples of transformational social entrepreneurs include thought leaders, change makers, pioneers, and trailblazers.

Social entrepreneurship is a diverse and dynamic field that encompasses different types of ventures and actors who share a common goal of creating positive social change. By understanding the different types of social entrepreneurship, you can gain insights into the various ways that social entrepreneurs approach and solve problems in society.

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Types of Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is an approach by individuals, groups, start-up companies or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.  Social entrepreneurs are either non-profits, or they blend for-profit goals with generating a positive “return to society”.

According to research, social entrepreneurship can be categorised into three types. These are: Social Bricoleur, Social Constructionists, and Social Engineers.

Social Bricoleur

A social bricoleur is someone who uses the resources available to them to address a social problem in a creative and innovative way. They often work at a local level, with limited resources and scope. They are driven by passion and personal values, rather than strategic planning or market analysis. They may not have a clear vision of the impact they want to create, but they are flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.

An example of a social bricoleur is Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, which provides microfinance loans to poor people in Bangladesh. Yunus started his initiative by lending $27 to 42 women from his own pocket, without any collateral or interest. He later expanded his model to reach millions of borrowers, mostly women, who use the loans to start small businesses and improve their livelihoods. Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work.

Social Constructionists

A social constructionist is someone who engages with multiple stakeholders to co-create solutions to social problems. They often work at a regional or national level, with moderate resources and scope. They are driven by collaboration and dialogue, rather than competition or persuasion. They have a clear vision of the impact they want to create, but they are open to feedback and learning from others. They may not have a unique or innovative solution, but they are effective at mobilizing resources and building networks.

An example of a social constructionist is Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, which recruits and trains recent college graduates to teach in low-income schools in the United States. Kopp started her initiative as a senior thesis project at Princeton University, with the support of various foundations and corporations. She later expanded her model to reach thousands of teachers and students across the country. Kopp also launched Teach for All, a global network of similar organizations in over 50 countries.

Social Engineers

A social engineer is someone who designs and implements large-scale solutions to social problems. They often work at a global or systemic level, with abundant resources and scope. They are driven by vision and strategy, rather than passion or collaboration. They have a clear vision of the impact they want to create, and they are confident and assertive in pursuing it. They have a unique or innovative solution, but they may face resistance or opposition from others.

An example of a social engineer is Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on improving health and education around the world. Gates started his foundation with his wife Melinda after amassing a fortune from his software company. He later pledged to donate most of his wealth to philanthropy. He has invested billions of dollars in various initiatives, such as developing vaccines for malaria and polio, supporting family planning and nutrition programs, and promoting digital learning and innovation. Gates is widely regarded as one of the most influential philanthropists in history.











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