World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship
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World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This comprehensive reference work, written by some of the most eminent academics in the field, contains entries on numerous aspects of entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 48: Social Entrepreneurship

Ana Maria Peredo


Ana Maria Peredo The concept of ‘social entrepreneurship’ has attracted considerable attention in the past decade or more, though arguably the phenomenon to which it applies has been with us for a very long time. The term appears with notable and increasing frequency in scholarly books and articles as well as the popular press. ‘Social entrepreneurship’ has become conspicuous in the vocabulary of governmental public policy in the UK and elsewhere. It is promoted by influential and wealthy foundations, and prominently featured in the curriculum of highly ranked business schools with numerous professorships in the subject. A PROPOSED DEFINITION The concept of ‘social entrepreneurship’ applies the notion of entrepreneurial intervention, drawn from the world of business economics, to attempts at addressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs, then, ‘are one species in the genus entrepreneur’ (Dees, 1998: 2). They are people who act ‘entrepreneurially’ in pursuit of social value. This much is obvious and agreed upon by those who use the concept and those who study the phenomenon it represents. But there is considerable variety in the more detailed understanding of both what it is to be entrepreneurial, and what it is to be socially entrepreneurial (Peredo and McLean, 2006; Tan et al., 2005). We propose the following elaboration of the concept, and argue below for its plausibility: social entrepreneurship is an activity aimed primarily at the creation of social value over and above the usual positive externalities of profit-seeking business. It involves alertness to the need for social good and the...

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