Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship

To Act as if and Make a Difference

Björn Bjerke and Mathias Karlsson

This informative book examines some social entrepreneurs in practice in several countries whilst concentrating on entrepreneurs in the third sector. The authors call them citizen entrepreneurs. Such people are not only becoming more common but also more necessary in the world of today.

Chapter 2: All these entrepreneurs

Björn Bjerke and Mathias Karlsson

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, development studies, social entrepreneurship, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship


Most entrepreneurship scholars today, like ourselves, do not want to limit entrepreneurship to specific personal traits or specific (for instance, economic) behaviour. The broad view of entrepreneurship (which we authors belong to) claims, furthermore, more distinctively that entrepreneurs can be found in the whole society, not only in its economy. Johannisson, for instance, (2005, p. 27; our translation) puts it such that ‘enterprising is something that belongs to all kinds of life’ or ‘the market is too small an arena for entrepreneurship, only the whole human existence is big enough’ (p. 39; our translation). We see three sectors in the society, which are (Figure 2.1): The public sector; The business sector; and The citizen sector (or ‘the third sector’). It is also so, as we discussed earlier, that only part of these sectors consists of entrepreneurs, that is, people who ‘act as if and make a difference’, people who are a bit more proactive than most others in satisfying other people’s demand and/or need through new businesses or new activities over and above just being employed in the public sector, running a business or being a citizen. These are shown within the broken lines in Figure 2.1. It is possible to associate the above types of entrepreneurs with three different types of places where they operate (compare Bjerke, 2010): In institutions in the public sector; In markets in the business sector; and In private or public places in the citizen sector.

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