Social Entrepreneurship
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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.
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Chapter 8: Public entrepreneurship – start, stages and process

To Act as if and Make a Difference

Björn Bjerke and Mathias Karlsson


In a global perspective, it is common to say that half of all businesses are started because the entrepreneur has discovered an opportunity to be an entrepreneur and the other half comes about because of necessity, that is, in order to support oneself and the family (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2007). Public entrepreneurs also look at what they do as a necessity, but not primarily to support themselves but because they want to feel useful. In our research we have learnt to understand public entrepreneurs as citizen entrepreneurs (which, as mentioned, is a type of social entrepreneur), who are citizen leaders in public places who own several significant leadership characteristics with a distinct personal trustworthiness which allows them to mobilize other citizens in terms of social value, and which expresses itself as a strong common purpose. Lead- beater, who is British, adds that this person has the ability to identify gaps and related opportunities. He describes social entrepreneurs as (1997, p. 10): Socially driven, ambitious leaders, with great skills in communicating a mission and inspiring staff, users and partners. In all cases they have been capable of creating impressive schemes with virtually no resources. Creating flat and flexible organizations, with a core of full-time paid staff, who work with few resources but a culture of creativity. In the UK, claims Burns (2007, p. 458), social entrepreneurs are pre- dominantly better qualified, older, already occupied but somewhere else and with a higher income than average in the country,

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