Historical Social Entrepreneurs

“Social entrepreneurship are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” ~ Bill Drayton

Social entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurs may be a new term referring to humanitarians and their actions. Social entrepreneurs are individuals searching for innovative solutions to society’s social dilemmas. They seek to solve the problems by finding out what is not working in the current situation, modify the system, experiment to find the solution and encourage others to implement the changes as well. They act as agents of change in society in the same way that entrepreneurs act as agents of change in the business world. Below is a short list of individuals who are examples of social entrepreneurs who have made dramatic and positive social changes in the past.

Historical Examples of Leading Social Entrepreneurs:

  • Susan B. Anthony (U.S.): Fought for Women’s Rights in the United States, including the right to control property and helped spearhead adoption of the 19th amendment.
  • Vinoba Bhave (India): Founder and leader of the Land Gift Movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres of land to aid India’s untouchables and landless.
  • Dr. Maria Montessori (Italy): Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
  • Florence Nightingale (U.K.): Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.
  • Margaret Sanger (U.S.): Founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she led the movement for family planning efforts around the world.
  • John Muir (U.S.): Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.
  • Jean Monnet (France): Responsible for the reconstruction of the French economy following World War II, including the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC and the European Common Market were direct precursors of the European Union.

sourced from ASHOKA Innovators for the Public

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