The term “Social Entrepreneurs” are defined as individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems; they are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. The term social entrepreneur, as well as social entrepreneurship, was first used in 1960s by literatures in sociology and it started to become widely used in the 1980s and 1990s.
Then who are the historical examples of leading social entrepreneurs? The followings are the list of leading social entrepreneurs who have huge impact in their own fields of work.
- Susan B. Anthony (U.S.): Fought for Women’s Rights in the United States, including the right to control property and helped spearhead adoption of the 19th amendment.
- Vinoba Bhave (India): Founder and leader of the Land Gift Movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres of land to aid India’s untouchables and landless.
- Dr. Maria Montessori (Italy): Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
- Florence Nightingale (U.K.): Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.
- John Muir (U.S.): Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.
- Jean Monnet (France): Responsible for the reconstruction of the French economy following World War II, including the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC and the European Common Market were direct precursors of the European Union.
Bill Drayton, a leading social entrepreneur in 1990s, is a founder and CEO of Ashoka. Ashoka is an organization founded in 1980 based upon the idea that the organization would become a positive impact on the development of society through being involved in six different fields of work. Those six different fields of work include; civic engagement, economic development, environment, health, human rights, and learning/education, all of which are touching upon human’s basic needs.
He once said that “social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” In other words, every social entrepreneur is a recruiter of local change-makers—a role model showing that citizens who alter their passion into action can do almost anything.
During the TAC meeting, we have discussed about these examples of social entrepreneurs around the world and how much one person can influence people around him/herself. However, the most important thing to keep in mind as a Christian is that everything we do in our life is for the Glory of God. Thus, we must believe that everything that occurs in one’s life has God’s meaning and we must be able to hear God’s voice through the event.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it ” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Sources for Intellectual Discourse, First Edition (2011), TAC publishing house