Inspired by social entrepreneurs who create sustainable income opportunities …

Have you ever heard of a Social Entrepreneur? I’ve long been inspired by non-profit organizations, but recently discovered the significant ways that social enterprises impact the world.

A Social Entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who creates a for-profit business, non-profit, or hybrid organization in order to solve a social problem. The problem may involve economic, environmental, health, education, wildlife, human rights, or safety issues. One of the coolest things about social enterprises is that they empower and support people to create sustainable solutions. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has an excellent description of a Social Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneurship.

Social Enterprises

Here’s a sampling of the many social enterprises that are making a difference throughout the world.

Aid to Artisans has impacted economic development in 110 countries by connecting more than 100,000 artisans with buyers who seek “culturally meaningful and innovative products.” This non-profit organization runs an on-line university that provides business training targeted toward the craft industry. Aid to Artisans’ efforts has helped generate $230 million in retail sales!

Awamaki focuses on economic development in Peru through its fair-trade weaving project for Quechua women and tourism program. Travelers can attend loom weaving, pottery, basket weaving, wood-carving, and cooking classes. What a great addition to a Peruvian adventure!

Barefoot College implements sustainable programs that help rural communities become self-sufficient. The programs include solar energy, water, education, healthcare, communication, and economic development. Men and women, called ‘Barefoot Professionals,’ plan and manage Barefoot College’s initiatives in their local community – awesome! Time Magazine recognized Director Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy as one of 100 people who most affect our world.

Indego Africa tackles poverty in Rwanda by creating fair-trade opportunities for women artisans. The non-profit organization also provides literacy, computer, finance, and entrepreneurship education. Indego Africa’s social impact is quite impressive!

Kick Start International follows a five-step process to help entrepreneurs in Kenya, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso identify business opportunities, develop and produce a product to meet the opportunity, market the product, and measure outcomes. One example is the Money Maker irrigation pump that helps farmers get water to irrigate their land. I love the combination of technological innovation and entrepreneurship!

Learn More about Social Entrepreneurs

Schwab Foundation
Skoll Foundation

Do you know of a social enterprise that is making a difference? Please tell us about it – leave a comment and link to the website. Thanks!