What Does Social Entrepreneurship Mean?


The movement toward making an impact and driving positive change for themselves and their communities has been building for centuries, from Benjamin Franklin crowdsourcing a community library to scholars and business owners like Bill Drayton percolating the term in the twentieth century. Social entrepreneurship isn’t just a trend or a new buzzword, it is a concept that has catalyzed growth in our societies throughout history. However, within the last decade, the social entrepreneurship movement has been taking on new momentum and infiltrating a broad range of industries, disciplines, and sectors. As information technology and the digital revolution remove barriers and make it easier for groups fighting for change to collaborate and fundraise for their cause, more and more entrepreneurs are making mission a key part of their for-profit business model.

So, what does Social Entrepreneurship Mean?

Today’s generation is defining this new field of social entrepreneurship on their own terms. Following on the heels of role models like Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes, Shiza Shahid of the Malala Fund, and Scott Harrison of charity:water, a new class of entrepreneurs are forging their own path on how business and impact can go hand-in-hand.

Here at Relay Coworking, we think the definition is simple.

Social entrepreneurship is an innovative, market-driven approach to creating impactful solutions and opportunities in the world.

How to be a Social Entrepreneur

Build impact into the framework of your organization.

When defining the core values of tour institution, business, company, or nonprofit, build in a mission to make a difference in your community. If you’re a social entrepreneur, social impact is not a byproduct, but your business model is leveraged to create an impact or solve a problem.

Innovate for greater success

Growth means greater impact, so as your organization scales, your impact also scales. Profit and impact are not mutually exclusive, so think outside the box and explore different revenue vehicles that can help you scale your reach and change the world.

Create a culture that is mission-driven

Your employees have values that align with your vision. Studies show that employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction is related to mission-driven values in the workplace.

How can you scale your impact?


Join the Austin’s social innovation ecosystem where innovative approaches give rise to more purposeful and profitable outcomes.

The CSI is an integrative campus for socially innovative organizations, and it’s been designed to tackle long-term commercial affordability and serve as a permanent home for Austin's social innovation ecosystem. Together nonprofits, social enterprises, city innovation leaders, capital providers, incubators, accelerators, universities, and advocacy groups will gather and collaborate in the space to foster new ideas and create inventive solutions to our biggest challenges.

Briana Loeb