There are numerous definitions for what it means to be a Social Entrepreneur and fortunately there is an incredible amount of support for these agents of change who embody a tough-minded optimism that empowers them to identify and respond quickly and effectively to social challenges within and outside of established vehicles for change.

From Ashoka
Social entrepreneurs are 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.

Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps.

Social entrepreneurs often seem to be possessed by their ideas, committing their lives to changing the direction of their field. They are both visionaries and ultimate realists, concerned with the practical implementation of their vision above all else.

From Skoll Foundation
Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already bringing positive change around the world, we empower them to extend their reach, deepen their impact and fundamentally improve society.

From the Schwab Foundation
Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profit or for-profit companies.

A social entrepreneur is a leader or pragmatic visionary who:
• Achieves large scale, systemic and sustainable social change through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of these.
• Focuses first and foremost on the social and/or ecological value creation and tries to optimize the financial value creation.
• Innovates by finding a new product, a new service, or a new approach to a social problem.
• Continuously refines and adapts approach in response to feedback.
• Combines the characteristics represented by Richard Branson and Mother Teresa.