What is a Social Entrepreneur?

Ashoka Fellows prove every day that the most powerful force for change in the world is a new idea in the hands of a leading social entrepreneur.

The job of a social entrepreneur is to recognize when a part of society is stuck and to provide new ways to get it unstuck. He or she finds what is not working and solves the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution and persuading entire societies to take new leaps. Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give fish or to teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.

Identifying and solving large-scale social problems require a social entrepreneur because only the entrepreneur has the committed vision and inexhaustible determination to persist until they have transformed the entire system. The scholar comes to rest when he expresses an idea. The professional succeeds when she solves a client’s problem. The manager calls it quits when he has enabled his organization to succeed. Social entrepreneur goes beyond the immediate problem to fundamentally change communities , societies, and the world.

Ashoka Fellow Veronica Khosa was frustrated with the system of health care in South Africa. A nurse by trade she was sick people getting sicker, elderly people unable to get to a doctor and hospitals with empty beds that would not admit patients with HIV . So Veronica started Tateni Home Care Nursing Service and instituted the concepy of yhome Carey in her country. Beginning with practically nothing her team took to the streets providing care to people in a way they had never received it. Years later Government had adopted her plan and through the recognition of  leading health organizations the idea is spreading beyond South Africa.

The past two decades have seen an extraordinary explosion of entrepreneurship and competition. In the social sector. The social sector has discovered with the business sector learned from the railroad, the stock market and today’s digital revolution: That nothing is as powerful as a big new idea if it is in hands of a first class entrepreneur.

The revolution lead by leaders like Veronica – is fundamentally changing the way society organizes itself and the way we approach social problems. These leaders are certainly doing more than giving a fish. They are teaching the world to swim.

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