Social entrepreneurship is an important area of interest in many social and civil society organizations and has a significant impact on many areas of society. In the last decade, economic resources have become more difficult to acquire and society continues to experience an economic and cultural decline. At the same time, communities need initiatives to improve their financial sustainability and programmes to improve the overall sustainability of the population.
Social entrepreneurship initiatives are enterprises that can serve as a method of increasing the social value of a community, organization or cause while improving the financial viability of a nonprofit organization. With this finding, social entrepreneurship has been defined in different ways by many different theorists. Gary McPherson, Executive Administrator of the Canada Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, explains that social entrepreneurship involves different individuals working to achieve social and economic goals simultaneously; while Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka, defines social entrepreneurship as a term coined to describe “individuals who combine an entrepreneur’s pragmatic and result-oriented methods with the goals of social reform”.
A more basic definition of social entrepreneurship states that “the process is to use entrepreneurial and entrepreneurial skills to create innovative approaches to social problems”. It is therefore a methodology that is currently being used to address community and societal concerns worldwide. Social entrepreneurship as an area of specialized entrepreneurship is not defined by the same title in every culture. In Latin American countries, for example, social entrepreneurship initiatives are referred to as “micro enterprises”. In India, the same programme is referred to as a “social mission”. Although differently designated in different regions, social entrepreneurship initiatives are implemented to address specific societal and community concerns by focusing on the needs and availability of resources in specific geographic regions.
Social Entrepreneurship in Education Throughout the United States, many upper-tertiary academic institutions are improving their business programs by introducing a curriculum that serves the study of social entrepreneurship. In 2003, the Center for Responsible Business was established at the University of California Berkley Campus. This subsidiary of the Haas School of Business was established with the goal of educating students to become more principled and socially responsible members of society by attending “the leading educational institution in corporate social responsibility. Stanford University has also established a Center for Social Innovation as part of its Graduate School of Business. This center was established with the aim of “building and strengthening the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to social problems for a fairer, more sustainable and healthier world.
In 1993, Harvard Business School launched its social enterprise program with a mission to “generate and share knowledge to help individuals and organizations create social value in the nonprofit, private and public sectors,” and the University of Miami redesigned its business school curriculum to provide courses in ethical decision making, social entrepreneurship and social engagement with a focus on exposing students to different areas of civic engagement while teaching them leadership and team building skills.
Tertiary institutions, including Duke, which has established a Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship as part of its Fuqua School of Business, and Columbia University, where the research initiative on Social Entrepreneurship is embedded in its Business School, have also taken steps to improve the study and education of individuals who want to venture into areas of social entrepreneurship and the implementation of social venture. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International (AACSB – International) has identified over twenty-four tertiary institutions that have adopted social entrepreneurship as part of their business schools and/or business curricula.