Social Entrepreneurship

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What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Rolllins Social Entrepreneurship program in Costa RicaIf social innovation is the process of finding new and creative ways to solve the world's most pressing problems, then social entrepreneurship is the product that brings those ideas to fruition.  Social entrepreneurship applies entrepreneurial principles to solve difficult social and environmental challenges. It focuses on both creative solutions and long-term, sustainable change.

It is a social entrepreneur's belief that many of the world's problems can be changed while also keeping an eye on the bottom line. Of course, the bottom line for this emerging group of innovators is not solely profit; but rather they look for their positive returns to society. Social entrepreneurship is most often associated with the nonprofit sector, but social entrepreneurs come from all walks of life as business professionals, educators, government officials, artists, poets and students.

History of the Movement

Although examples of social entrepreneurship can be identified throughout history, the terminology is relatively new as a discipline. The term was first popularized in the 1980's by Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, the first organization to focus on the concept. Social entrepreneurship has grown in popularity as Drayton's efforts have been expanded and duplicated by changemakers finding their own creative and sustainable ways to address important challenges.

One of today's most recognizable examples of a social entrepreneur is Muhammad Yunus who began using microfinance loans as a way to help families out of poverty. Another area that has been influenced by social entrepreneurship is environmental sustainability through the introduction of eco-businesses and innovative new platforms to get communities more engaged in preservation.

Social Entrepreneurship is a rapidly growing field. It is quickly gaining recognition as a powerful type of social movement, one that provides long-term results.

Social Entrepreneurship on Campus

Ashoka ChangemakerSESi provides a variety of opportunities for students to learn more about social entrepreneurship and sustainability at Rollins. Students can participate in a variety of different student-run organizations, progrmas and special events. Academic courses in social entrepreneurship and sustainability are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level. SESi designated internships provide hands-on opportunities to work with innovative changemakers in our community. The SESi office also offers one-on-one coaching for students and teams interested in launching their own social ventures.

Rollins is also proud to be named an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. Our partnership with Ashoka U and the Changemaker Campus Consortium ensures that our students have access to the highest quality practitioners and thought-leaders in this emerging field.

Contact SESi for questions or to learn more at

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget this errand."

Woodrow Wilson

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