Social entrepreneurs: Just who are they?

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The perennial phrase “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” does not capture all the essentials where social entrepreneurs are concerned. In effect, these seek to revolutionise the entire fishing industry through innovative thought.

Social entrepreneurship has been likened to double or triple-bottomline business operations, doublebottom- line because these combine profit-making with a social mission and triple-bottom-line because they integrate the three Ps (People, Planet and Profits) into their business models. The common denominator appears to be the amalgamation of profits and social mission.

On other occasions, social entrepreneurship has been associated with philanthropies, especially in humanitarian pursuits. For instance, successful businessmen, whether from advanced or emerging economies, tend to use charitable organisations as vehicles to pursue various social and humanitarian goals, perhaps for tax exemption reasons.


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