Mkt1019 characteristics of the social entrepreneur 1
The ‘personal characteristics’ approach
Entreprendre: v. To undertake; to begin, start
(upon), embark upon, set about
•New product/service •Risk
•New method •Combination of
(“reach exceeds grasp”)
•New form of organization
Agents of change:
• Not to be confused with for-profit firms trying to be socially
responsible. E. g. Body Shop
• Mission to create/sustain social value
• New opportunities for pursuit of mission
• Innovation, adaptation, and learning
• Not limited by resources currently in hand
• Accountability to constituencies and outcomes created
Social entrepreneurship – why it’s such a
• Markets for ideas not necessarily efficient
• The search for meaning in work
– Senior executives dropping out of the rat race to focus on
intrinsically rewarding experiences
• Trends in spending and budgets by the traditional actor:
• Increasing income inequality
– Shift to a winner-take-most society
Social entrepreneurship – why it’s such a
• The paradox of corporate philanthropy
– Businessmen are penny-pinchers in their corporate avatars,
but can be pretty generous in private life
• Gates Foundation
– Tax breaks
• Philanthropy is costless when tax-deductible!
– Corporate social responsibility
• Individual philanthropy sidesteps the controversies
surrounding corporate philanthropy
Social entrepreneurship – why it’s
such a big deal
– The most challenging of social ventures
– One-third of the world’s population lives on a dollar a day
– Microfinance involves providing small loans/investment to the
world’s poorest; venture capital for those with zero collateral
– e.g. Grameen Bank
Mike Bull says
• the decline of state involvement in the planned provision of
services in society;and conceptualisation of the “market”
• the focus of a culture that emphasises self-reliance and
personal responsibility and the rise of entrepreneurship
more generally (Scase and Goffee, 1980;Kuratko, 2005)
• changes in funding opportunities within the community,
voluntary and non-profit (social) sectors – specifically the
move from grant giving to contract/competitive tendering
and the devolution, deregulation and privatisation of
welfare states globally (Pearce, 2003; Goerke, 2003).
Heros and Mavericks
Thanks to Dave Dawes of Entreprenurses for the graphics
The problem (sexy thing about) with
• Dislike bureaucracy & paperwork
• Love risk
• Extremely creative
• Bend and break rules
• Get bored easily
• Very difficult to manage
“ A patient is the most important person in our hospital.
He is not an interruption to our work, he is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider in our hospital, he is part of it.
We are not doing a favour by serving him, he is doing us a favour by
giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Mahatma Gandhi - Bombay Hospital Mission Statement
Unwavering values and principles?..
The UnLtd social entrepreneur
• Pro-risk, “opportunist”
• Self-determined goals.
• Resistance to formal
education system. • A vocal conscience and the
desire to be a “change
• Strong influence of socially-
• Strong support network.
minded individual during
youth. • Self confidence.
• Spiritual identity. • Entrepreneurial approach to
• Experience as an outsider.
• Pivotal life moment(s).
• They have vices (ie chain smoking); they use expletives, and have
fought personal battles to overcome violent behaviours when they’re
upset; they can exhibit egotistical, even racist tendencies. More than one
whom I met this summer had been institutionalized.
• Were they at the head of their class? No. (Well, two of them were, but
both subsequently left college.) Did they excel at everything they ever
did? No. In some cases, past failures outnumbered successes.
• Are they great managers or employees? Not necessarily. Some have
been fired from jobs; others have quit and/or burned bridges upon
• Do they do it for the glory? No, but many revel in recognition and
appreciate public praise…. and some have been accused by friends,
colleagues, and their own volunteers of being immature, possessive, self-
absorbed, dictating, control freaks.
• Do Social Entrepreneurs
– Act alone?
– Struggle against the system?
– Invent entirely new ways of doing things?
• Are they
– saviours of public and private business failure? (Evers, 2001; Nicholls,
2006; Westall and Chalkley, 2007)
– the answer to “worklessness”, social isolation and inequality
(Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2006),
– the quick fix for societies’ ills (Bull, 2008)
– Social entrepreneurs or social enterprises?