B.S. Raghavan recently wrote an excellent piece in the Hindu BusinessLine on Boosting Social Innovation in India, where he proposes a definition of Social Entrepreneurs, or as he calls them, Sociopreneurs:
In recent years, a new branch of entrepreneurship — called sociopreneurship — comprising a new breed of entrepreneurs called social entrepreneurs, pressing into service their role as an agent of social change has been rapidly gaining ground. Sociopreneurs can be defined as self-motivated and self-propelled individuals with a social conscience and social commitment who are impelled by an irresistible urge to fulfill a social need or remedy a social ill by applying the same principles of creativity, innovation and experimentation as are relevant to entrepreneurship in general, with voluntarism as the driving force.
While this isn’t a particularly new definition of the term, it does show that the concept of entrepreneurial ventures towards the social good are now being increasingly acknowledged and encouraged. This is also corroborated by the successes of such ventures as SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association), the Grameen Bank, and other such grassroots ventures that offer a sustainable model for community development.