For so long entrepreneurship solely seemed like an avenue to generate wealth. However, a new meaning to the word entrepreneurship is currently taking shape, focusing on social impact as well as wealth creation.

More and more individuals are assessing the needs of their countries, and taking action to address these needs. While social entrepreneurship continues to unfold in the developed world, social entrepreneurs are also beginning to spring about in developing countries. Research conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found that social entrepreneurship is indeed taking root. Explained below are some of its findings.

According to the findings, about 3.2 percent of the world’s population is embarking on social ventures. Defined by GEM leading official Professor Terjesen, social entrepreneurship can be defined as: “any people starting any initiative that has a social, environmental, or community objective.” This can be as simple as high school students building something from recycled materials, or as complex as a group finding solutions for water inefficiency and irrigation problems. Social Entrepreneurs seek to build social enterprises aimed at driving social innovation with the same passion and zeal if pursuing a financial goal.

The Social Entrepreneurship Report found socially-oriented programs growing quickly in areas not accustomed to such initiatives. For example, such initiatives were especially prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in South America. In South America specifically, Peru led its neighboring countries in social entrepreneurship activities with 10.1 percent of its population partaking in communal projects. Estonia, Croatia, and Hungary’s populations involved in social activities were 4, 6.1, and 9.7 percent respectively.

First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame believes social entrepreneurship can become an important and beneficial economic avenue for Africa’s transformation. At a dinner rewarding some of Africa’s best and brightest social entrepreneurs, she said: “It is quite interesting to see that this field of entrepreneurship, so often perceived as a means to make one richer, can also be such a powerful tool to uplift others, as tonight’s laureates have shown us.”

Social Entrepreneurship can really go a long way. Just look at Toms Shoes’ founder Blake Mycoskie, who sold half of his shoe company to Bain Capital at $625 million. Blake founded Tom with the mission of donating a pair of shoes for every pair sold. 10 years and 50 million pairs later, Blake has become somewhat of a poster child for social entrepreneurship. He advises future social entrepreneurs to know their mission well and ensure that others know it as well.


Eddie Dovner is an entrepreneur, inventor, and CEO who is based in West Palm Beach, Florida. Learn more about Eddie Dovner by visiting his pages on LinkedIn, Twitter, and SlideShare. Also, please learn more by visiting EdwardDovner.org and EddieDovner.com.