Investing Rulebook

The 10 Most Successful Social Entrepreneurs

Is Social Entrepreneurship the Future of Business?In a world that often seems consumed by profit and self-interest, a new movement has emerged that aims to bridge the gap between business success and social impact. Social entrepreneurship, defined as the pursuit of innovative solutions to social problems while generating financial returns, is quickly gaining traction.

This article will explore the concept of social entrepreneurship, the importance of socially-responsible investing, and highlight some key figures and organizations that are making a difference.

1) Definition of Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is not just a buzzword; it represents a fundamental shift in the way we view the purpose and role of business in society. At its core, social entrepreneurship is about addressing pressing social issues through entrepreneurial ventures that seek to create sustainable systemic change.

These entrepreneurs combine business acumen with a deep commitment to social impact, creating innovative solutions to societal problems.

2) Socially-Responsible Investing (SRI)

One of the key aspects of social entrepreneurship is the concept of socially-responsible investing (SRI). SRI is an investment strategy that seeks to generate both financial returns and positive social and environmental impact.

With SRI, investors are not just focused on financial gains; they also consider the broader implications of their investments. By directing capital towards companies that prioritize social and environmental responsibility, investors can help drive positive change while still earning a profit.

– Criteria for SRI:

– Environmental sustainability

– Labor and human rights

– Governance and ethics

3) Key Figures and Organizations

a) Bill Drayton and Ashoka

Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka, is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of social entrepreneurship. Ashoka is an organization that supports social entrepreneurs worldwide by providing them with resources, funding, and a platform to scale their impact.

Through initiatives like Innovators for the Public and Get America Working!, Ashoka continues to inspire and empower individuals to create lasting social change.

b) Rachel Brathen and Yoga Girl

Rachel Brathen, better known as Yoga Girl, is a social media influencer and entrepreneur who has used her platform to bring attention to important social issues. Her popular Instagram account showcases not only beautiful yoga poses but also stories of struggle, resilience, and the power of community.

Through her online platform and, an online yoga channel, Rachel Brathen is inspiring others to find balance in their lives while also promoting social and environmental causes.


In conclusion, social entrepreneurship offers a new perspective on the role of business in society. By combining entrepreneurship with a commitment to social impact, these innovative individuals and organizations are rewriting the rules of capitalism.

Through initiatives like socially-responsible investing, they are proving that financial success and positive societal change are not mutually exclusive. As more people embrace the ideals of social entrepreneurship, we can only hope for a future where business serves as a force for good.

So, join the movement, and let’s shape a better world together. 3) Shiza Shahid, Malala Fund, and Malala Yousafzai

In the realm of social entrepreneurship, few names evoke as much admiration and inspiration as Malala Yousafzai.

Shot by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, Malala’s fight for gender equality and education rights has earned her the Nobel Peace Prize and a global platform to make a difference. But behind every great leader, there are often individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes to support their vision.

Enter Shiza Shahid, the co-founder of the Malala Fund. Shiza Shahid, a Pakistani social entrepreneur and women’s rights activist, played an instrumental role in the establishment and growth of the Malala Fund.

Inspired by Malala’s courage and determination, Shiza recognized the need to amplify her voice and create a platform that could empower millions of girls around the world. The Malala Fund, established in 2013, aims to ensure every girl has access to twelve years of free, safe, and quality education.

Through advocacy, grant-making, and initiatives like the Gulmakai Network, the Malala Fund is igniting change and breaking down barriers that hinder girls’ education. 4) Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes, and the One-for-One Campaign

Another shining example of social entrepreneurship is Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes.

Starting as a simple idea during a trip to Argentina, TOMS Shoes has become a global sensation, blending fashion with social impact. The key to TOMS’ success lies in its innovative One-for-One campaign.

The concept behind the One-for-One campaign is straightforward but remarkably effective. For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.

This model not only addresses the issue of shoelessness in impoverished communities but also fosters local sustainability by sourcing shoes from local markets, stimulating local economies. What began as a shoe company has now expanded to include eyewear and coffee, all following the same One-for-One principle.

Blake Mycoskie’s vision has not only improved the lives of countless individuals but also inspired a new wave of conscious consumerism. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the power their purchases hold and are seeking out companies that prioritize social impact alongside profitability.

TOMS Shoes has successfully tapped into this sentiment, proving that businesses can be agents of change and make a significant impact on global issues. 5) Scott Harrison and charity: water

Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water, has dedicated his life to solving one of humanity’s most basic needs – providing clean water to those who need it most.

Inspired by a trip to Liberia, where he witnessed the devastating impact of contaminated water on communities, Scott launched charity: water in 2006. Charity: water is a non-profit organization that works to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

Through innovative fundraising campaigns and strategic partnerships, Scott Harrison and his team have raised millions of dollars to fund water projects around the world. These projects range from building wells and water filtration systems to training local communities in hygiene practices.

100% of public donations go directly to funding clean water projects, thanks to separate funding for administrative costs. Scott’s approach to philanthropy is grounded in transparency and accountability.

Donors are given access to information about the specific projects their contributions support and can see the impact they have made firsthand. This level of transparency not only builds trust but also empowers individuals to become advocates for clean water.

6) Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank

No conversation about social entrepreneurship is complete without mentioning Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist and Nobel laureate, is often considered the father of microfinance and a pioneer of social business.

The Grameen Bank, founded by Muhammad Yunus in 1983, provides small loans, known as microcredit, to individuals who lack access to traditional banking systems. By extending credit to the poor, often consisting of women, Grameen Bank empowers individuals to start businesses, generate income, and lift themselves out of poverty.

With a repayment rate of over 97%, Grameen Bank has proven the viability and impact of microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation. Muhammad Yunus believes that poverty is not the fault of the poor, but rather a result of the systems in place.

Through Grameen Bank, he has demonstrated that providing individuals with the means to create economic opportunities can have a transformative effect on entire communities. His work has inspired countless others to embrace the concept of social business and find innovative solutions to poverty and social inequality.


Social entrepreneurship is a powerful force for positive change in our world. From Malala Yousafzai and Shiza Shahid’s efforts to uplift girls’ education, to Blake Mycoskie’s creation of TOMS Shoes’ One-for-One campaign, and Scott Harrison’s mission to bring clean water to those in need, these individuals and organizations are rewriting the rules of business.

Drawing inspiration from the principles of social impact and sustainability, their work has not only transformed lives but also ignited a global movement. By harnessing the power of business for the greater good, social entrepreneurs are proving that profitability and positive societal change can go hand in hand.

5) Jeffrey Hollender, Seventh Generation, and Hollender Sustainable Brands

Jeffrey Hollender is a prominent figure in the world of social entrepreneurship and sustainability. As the co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation, a leading brand of environmentally-friendly household products, Hollender has made it his mission to promote responsible business practices.

Seventh Generation was founded in 1988 with a vision to create products that are safe for the planet and the people who use them. The company believes in using renewable resources, reducing waste, and minimizing the use of harmful chemicals.

Through their commitment to transparency and ethical sourcing, Seventh Generation has become a trusted brand for eco-conscious consumers. After stepping down as CEO of Seventh Generation, Hollender went on to establish Hollender Sustainable Brands.

This consultancy firm helps companies integrate sustainability into their business strategies, guiding them towards more responsible practices. Hollender’s expertise and experience in the industry make him a sought-after advisor for businesses looking to make a positive impact on society and the environment.

6) Xavier Helgesen, Christopher Kreece Fuchs, Jeff Kurtzman, and Better World Books

Books have the power to educate, inspire, and transform lives. For Xavier Helgesen, Christopher Kreece Fuchs, and Jeff Kurtzman, the founders of Better World Books, this belief goes hand in hand with their commitment to social entrepreneurship.

Better World Books operates on a simple premise – for every book sold, a book is donated to someone in need. This unique business model not only supports literacy initiatives globally but also keeps books out of landfills and promotes sustainability.

By embracing the circular economy, Better World Books has found a way to make a positive impact on education and the environment. But it doesn’t stop there.

Better World Books also works with libraries and book drives to collect used books, preventing them from going to waste. They have partnered with organizations like Room to Read and Books for Africa to distribute books to underserved communities worldwide.

Through their innovative approach and commitment to social impact, Xavier Helgesen, Christopher Kreece Fuchs, and Jeff Kurtzman have shown that books can change lives and create a better world.

7) ZOLA Electric and the Power of Renewable Energy

Access to electricity is essential for daily life, yet millions of people around the world still live without it. ZOLA Electric, formerly known as Off-Grid Electric, is a social enterprise that aims to address this issue by providing clean and affordable energy solutions to off-grid communities.

Founded by entrepreneurs Xavier Helgesen, Chris Fuchs, and Jeff Kurtzman, ZOLA Electric offers innovative solar-powered solutions that are changing lives in Africa and beyond. They provide households and businesses with solar home systems, allowing them to generate electricity for lighting, charging devices, and running small appliances.

This not only improves the quality of life for individuals but also helps alleviate poverty and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Through their pay-as-you-go model, ZOLA Electric makes their products and services accessible to even the most underserved populations.

This approach allows customers to pay for energy in affordable installments, making it financially feasible for those with limited resources. 8) Marc Koska, SafePoint Trust, and Auto-Disable Syringes

Unsafe injections and the spread of diseases through contaminated needles have long been a concern in healthcare settings, especially in developing countries.

Marc Koska, a social entrepreneur and inventor, set out to address this issue and improve healthcare safety by creating the auto-disable syringe. Auto-disable syringes are designed to prevent reuse, significantly reducing the risk of transmitting infections like HIV and Hepatitis B.

Once the syringe has been used, it becomes permanently disabled, making it impossible to reuse. This simple yet effective solution has the potential to save millions of lives and prevent the spread of deadly diseases.

Through his organization, SafePoint Trust, Marc Koska actively works to promote the use of auto-disable syringes and advocate for their adoption worldwide. By collaborating with governments, NGOs, and healthcare providers, he strives to create a global standard that prioritizes the safety of medical procedures.

9) Sanjit “Bunker” Roy and Barefoot College

Sanjit “Bunker” Roy, an Indian social activist, founded Barefoot College in 1972 with a mission to empower marginalized communities through education and skill-building. Located in the remote village of Tilonia in Rajasthan, India, Barefoot College is known for its innovative approach to education and sustainable development.

Barefoot College focuses on training individuals from rural and underserved areas in a wide range of skills, from solar engineering and water harvesting to healthcare and handicrafts. What sets this institution apart is its emphasis on practical learning and the utilization of local knowledge.

Women, in particular, are encouraged to participate and take on leadership roles, challenging traditional gender roles and empowering them to become agents of change in their communities. By equipping individuals with practical skills and knowledge, Barefoot College transforms their lives and communities.

Graduates return to their villages as solar engineers, healthcare workers, and water technicians, bringing vital services and knowledge to areas that lack infrastructure. Sanjit “Bunker” Roy’s visionary approach to education has inspired similar initiatives globally, demonstrating the power of locally-led, community-driven solutions.


Social entrepreneurship is a dynamic field that continues to shape our world for the better. Jeffrey Hollender, Xavier Helgesen, Christopher Kreece Fuchs, Jeff Kurtzman, Marc Koska, and Sanjit “Bunker” Roy are just a few examples of the countless individuals who are making a significant impact through their innovative ventures.

Their commitment to sustainability, social impact, and transformative solutions serves as an inspiration for aspiring social entrepreneurs around the world. With their vision and dedication, these changemakers are paving the way for a brighter and more equitable future.

7) Social Entrepreneurship Definition and Socially-Responsible Investing

Social entrepreneurship is a term that has gained widespread recognition in recent years, but what exactly does it mean? At its core, social entrepreneurship represents a unique approach to problem-solving that combines the ambition and innovation of traditional entrepreneurship with a deep commitment to social and environmental impact.

Social entrepreneurs identify pressing issues within society and develop creative, sustainable, and scalable solutions to address them. These individuals and organizations go beyond traditional business models and prioritize the well-being of people and the planet alongside financial sustainability.

They aim to create positive change and make a lasting impact on the communities they serve. Continuous innovation, adaptability, and the ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders are vital characteristics of social entrepreneurs.

Socially-responsible investing (SRI) is closely linked to social entrepreneurship. SRI refers to an investment strategy that considers not only financial returns but also the broader social and environmental impact of the invested funds.

SRI investors actively seek out companies that align with their values and prioritize social and environmental responsibility. This approach reflects the growing recognition that capital can be a powerful force for good when directed towards businesses that create positive change.

Through socially-responsible investing, individuals and institutions support social entrepreneurs by providing them with the necessary resources and capital to scale their impact. These investments enable social entrepreneurs to develop and implement innovative solutions to pressing societal and environmental challenges.

The combination of social entrepreneurship and socially-responsible investing creates a positive feedback loop, as socially-minded investors contribute to the growth and sustainability of these ventures while generating financial returns. 8) Bill Drayton, Ashoka, and the First Social Entrepreneur

Bill Drayton is often recognized as the pioneer of social entrepreneurship and the person responsible for popularizing the term.

Drayton founded Ashoka in 1980, an organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing social entrepreneurs globally. Ashoka provides financial support, access to a global network of like-minded individuals, and opportunities for collaboration and scaling impact.

Ashoka’s mission is driven by the belief that everyone has the potential to be a changemaker. By identifying and investing in individuals who have the vision and determination to solve societal problems, Ashoka has helped launch and scale hundreds of innovative projects worldwide.

Through initiatives such as the Ashoka Fellowship program, Ashoka amplifies the impact of social entrepreneurs and catalyzes systemic change. Notably, Bill Drayton introduced the concept of the triple bottom line, which has since become a central tenet in social entrepreneurship.

The triple bottom line refers to a business framework that assesses success based on three pillars: social, environmental, and financial performance. It challenges the traditional notion that financial profit alone is the sole measure of success.

Instead, it recognizes the importance of considering social and environmental outcomes alongside financial results when evaluating the success of a venture. The triple bottom line encourages businesses to take a holistic approach, focusing on long-term sustainability and social responsibility.

It considers the positive social impacts a business creates, its commitment to environmental stewardship, and its financial viability. By adopting this framework, social entrepreneurs aim to strike a balance between generating profits and operating in a manner that benefits society and the planet.

In conclusion, social entrepreneurship represents a powerful approach to problem-solving that combines innovation, social impact, and sustainability. With the support of socially-responsible investors, social entrepreneurs are able to develop and implement creative solutions to pressing challenges.

Bill Drayton and Ashoka have played a pivotal role in popularizing social entrepreneurship and fostering a global ecosystem that supports these changemakers. By embracing the triple bottom line, social entrepreneurs strive to create tangible positive change in society, while also driving financial viability and environmental sustainability.

With their vision and dedication, social entrepreneurs continue to demonstrate that business can be a force for good.

Popular Posts