Social Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation


Social entrepreneurship is the attempt to draw upon business techniques to find solutions to social problems. This concept may be applied to a variety of organizations with different sizes, aims, and beliefs. For a clearer definition of what social entrepreneurship entails, it is necessary to set the function of social entrepreneurship apart from other socially oriented activities and identify the boundaries within which social entrepreneurs operate. Social entrepreneurship in modern society offers an altruistic form of entrepreneurship that focuses on the benefits that society may reap. Unlike traditional corporate businesses, social entrepreneurship ventures focus on maximizing gains in social satisfaction, rather than maximizing profit gains. Community-based enterprises are based on the social ventures of an entire community that uses its culture and capital to empower itself as an entire enterprise.

Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunus was the founder of Grameen Bank, which pioneered the concept of microcredit for supporting innovators in multiple developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In 2006, the Norwegian Nobel Committee jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Peace to Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” Since 2006 Professor Yunus has focused on spreading and implementing the concept of social business. He has written three books about micro-lending and Social Business: “Banker to the Poor” (2003), “A World without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism” (2008) and “Building Social Business” (2010). Among Professor Yunus’ many awards and honors he has received all three highest US Civilian awards (Presidential Citizens Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal). Thereby he is one of only seven people in history that has received these awards, along with recipients Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela. In 2009, Forbes named Professor Yunus one of its “10 Most Influential Business Gurus.”


Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. Founded in 1980, Ashoka has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world. Ashoka launched the field of social entrepreneurship and has activated multi-sector partners across the world that increasingly looks to entrepreneurial talent and new ideas to solve social problems. Ashoka’s mission has evolved beyond catalyzing individual entrepreneurs to enabling an “everyone a change maker” world. This means equipping more people – including young people – with the skillset and a connection to purpose so that they can contribute ideas and effectively solve problems at whatever scale is needed in their family, community, city, workplace, field, industry, country.


William “Bill” Drayton is a social entrepreneur, founder and current Chair of Ashoka. Drayton’s philosophy of social entrepreneurs is individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. To quote Drayton, “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”


UnLtd – The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs is the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and offers the largest such network in the world. UnLtd resources hundreds of individuals each year through its core Awards programme. UnLtd operates a unique model by investing directly in individuals and offering a complete package of resources; from Awards of funding, to ongoing advice, networking and practical support. UnLtd supports individuals who have their ventures firmly rooted in delivering positive social change. On March 4, 2008, UnLtd launched UnLtdWorld, an online community for socially minded people. UnLtdWorld was an online platform that connected social entrepreneurs and attempted to empower the way insight and information was shared, and exchanged, within the social enterprise sector and market. UnLtdWorld aimed to provide social entrepreneurs with the most powerful possible platform to dynamically connect, and through a community share knowledge and find the tools they need to succeed.


What is Social Innovation?

Social Innovation and Social Enterprise are on the rise. Businesses are becoming concerned with solving social problems rather than simply making a profit. This is great news, but for those of us trying to sift through the jargon, it is helpful to define these terms. While social innovation could mean doing things differently on a variety of different levels, social entrepreneurship focuses specifically on business.

Social innovation is commonly defined as new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations. These innovations are considered both good for society and capable of enacting greater societal involvement in the provision of social services. Social innovations are new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet the social needs of different elements which can be from working conditions and education to community development and health — they extend and strengthen civil society. Social innovation includes the social processes of innovation, such as open source methods and techniques and also the innovations which have a social purpose — like online volunteering, microcredit, or distance learning.

Social innovation can take place within government; the for-profit sector, the nonprofit sector (also known as the third sector), or in the spaces between them. Both social entrepreneurship and social enterprise are important contributions to social innovation by creating social value and introducing new ways of achieving goals.

Institutional frame of the EU about SE

-The Social Business Initiative, 2011. The Social Innovation Europe initiative, funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, was set up to map social innovation at a European level, by creating a directory of examples of social innovation from across the member states.

– The vision of the Europe 2020 Strategy seeks to build an EU based on a social market economy fit for the 21st century, capable of fostering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. With the help of EU funds such as the European Social Fund and the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI, formerly Progress), the Union will continue to support social innovation throughout the EU. With EU support it is needed to ensure that Member States have the capacity to implement social policy innovation and that the outcomes feed into national reforms.

– The European Commission funded the SELUSI study between 2008 – 2013 that looked at over 550 social ventures and examined how these insights can spark change and innovation at a much larger scale. It looked at business models of social ventures in five countries identifying which specific practices evolved by social ventures are particularly successful, and how and by whom – be it social enterprise, public sector body or mainstream business– they can be most effectively scaled-up.

-The European Commission has launched a new initiative (project) in 2013 under FP7 funding – BENISI Project – with the aim to build a network of incubators for social innovation across regions and countries. This network facilitates identification of 300 social innovation examples and facilitates its scaling. The network is organised in a way to identify new models for scaling of social innovations across various geographical clusters in collaboration with each other, communicating the ideas, finding the tools and funds, developing business plans and models in order to promote the new promising ideas throughout Europe.

The situation with SE in the countries part of the training course „Tools Open for Youth“

1.Social entrepreneurship in Lithuania:

The Law on Support for employment (2006) and the Law on Social enterprises (2004) determine the state support in Lithuania for those most in need. The main target group employed in social enterprises is disabled people. This is relevant for both with social enterprise and social enterprise for disabled. The main economic activities of social enterprises are production or services. Restaurant “My Guru is addressing addiction patients’ problems. The objective is to enable individuals after their psychoactive substances rehabilitation to reintegrate into society and the labor market: the successful completion of a rehabilitation program, 70% of employees working in cafe waiters, bartenders and cooks.

2.Social entrepreneurship in Hungary:
Despite the lack of a legal definition of social enterprise, and the fact that the non-profit and business sectors are still segregated in Hungary, non-profit organizations have recently started to show a growing interest in the self-financing and social entrepreneurship model. Fruit of care : They are producing craftwork like handmade stuff by people with disadvantages. Thus we present their well use and we help their social inclusion. They are offering their product for companies which thing about social responsibility as an important issue. These are collecting product.

3. Social entrepreneurship in Turkey

Inadequacy of legal structures is another impediment to social entrepreneurship in Turkey. The lack of any regulation in the legislation corresponding to social enterprises causes the establishment of social enterprises as associations/foundations, cooperatives or companies, which leads to social enterprises operating in structures that do not fully suit their functions or methods. Existence of good examples such as KAMER Foundation, Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living and Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (KEDV) also open up opportunities; as these examples encourage potential enterprises and are viewed as a chance for conveying reform and incentive demands.

4.Social entrepreneurship in Macedonia

Social entrepreneurship is still at an early development stage: in the official documents it exists in the Strategy for cooperation of the Government with the civil society; there is no Law on Social Entrepreneurship adopted yet, although it is in the enactment procedure. The first projects and studies on social business have only begun to pave the way for improving the environment of social businesses. Interesting to conclude is that main addressees of social business are the civil society organizations as visible in the Strategy for cooperation of the Government with the civil society and CIRa’s study on social business. Since the social business concept is rather new and unexploited in Macedonia, offering sufficient funds for promotion of social business and offering education and training is crucial for shifting from “early development” into “developed phase” of social business. In this line, more pilot projects are needed.

5.Social entrepreneurship in Croatia

The Croatian Government has recently adopted a strategy of development of social entrepreneurship for the period 2015-2020. The Strategy defines the common elements of social (social) entrepreneurs. The strategy did not identify the specific legal obstacles for the development of social entrepreneurship, nor does it provide additional benefits. However, the Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy provides in-depth analysis of legal regulations, in order to identify any additional barriers to the further development of social entrepreneurship. As the Strategy identifies associations (NGOs), cooperatives, institutions and companies that are established with the aim of employing people with disabilities as holders of basic social of entrepreneurship, below elaborate these status-legal forms.

6.Social entrepreneurship in Spain

In Spain, social contributions are generally small-scale and providing social services financed by the state is underdeveloped. Family and history, and church humanitarian organizations, played a central role as providers of social services. Also, there is long tradition of cooperatives. It is therefore not surprising that the late eighties appear new cooperative initiatives that will respond to unmet needs, particularly in the field labor integration and in providing social services. In Spain, in 1999 The national law introduced “cooperative social initiative” (Cooperativa de social initiative); any form of co-operative that provide social services or economic development activities of socially excluded fall under this category.

7.Social entrepreneurship in Czech Republic

There are currently around 100 social enterprises in the Czech Republic, doing business in just about every area of the economy. The majority of existing social enterprises in the Czech Republic employ people with disabilities. However, enterprises employing disadvantaged categories such as Roma people, homeless people, former drug-addicted, can be found increasingly commonly, showing an interesting growing trend for the diffusion of social economy in this country. As regards regulatory framework, there does not exist any specific legal form for social enterprises and there are not any specific tax advantages. However, social enterprises can take the legal form of standard commercial companies, most commonly limited liability companies or cooperatives.

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