Perhaps the most well-known social entrepreneur, Muhammad Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He founded the Grameen Bank, which offers microloans to individuals in impoverished countries so they can support themselves.These people would not qualify for loans through traditional channels, so Grameen Bank represents an opportunity for them to rise out of poverty.
Other social entrepreneurs create businesses that combine a traditional purpose with a social function. For instance, Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes to East Africa for every pair sold. In the U.K., Liam Black transformed a small Liverpool charity into a major business that employs hundreds of people and provides quality recycled furniture to thousands of low-income families.
Hildy Gottlieb and her business partner Dimitri Petropolis identified a need in Tucson, Arizona, and created the nation's first Diaper Bank. Like food banks, diaper banks accept donations and then distribute the supplies to needy families, working with nonprofit organizations, religious organizations, and schools. The pair are now working on a new social endeavor as founders of the Community Driven Institute. Their current work focuses on helping communities understand what it takes to truly make a difference in the world by focusing on outcomes and the positive principles elaborated in Gottlieb's book, "The Pollanna Principles". Gottlieb encourages people to stop using the term "nonprofit organization" in favor of the more descriptive and positive name "community benefit organization". Check out our interview with Hildy Gottlieb.
Josh First, President and CEO of Appalachian Land & Conservation Services Co., LLC., combines his expertise in environmental protection and natural resource conservation through government agencies with an independent spirit. He believes that "the best way to protect the environment is to buy it, either for public ownership or for private conservation buyers," and thus approaches land conservation with a business and profit mindset. Read our interview with Josh First.
Check out these articles for more information about social entrepreneurship:
What is a Social Entrepreneur?
Julia Stege, The Magical Marketer