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What is Social entrepreneurship?

What is Social entrepreneurship?

Definition: What is social entrepreneurship?

What is social entrepreneurship? For a start, this is a unique approach to conducting business that prioritizes the well-being of both people and the environment while maintaining economic efficiency. In addition, it’s important that the essence of a social enterprise is not determined by its legal structure but rather by its core objective: addressing social, societal, or environmental needs.

Then, social enterprise stands on three key pillars:

1. A Social and/or Environmental Mission

Firstly, primary purpose of a social enterprise is to address a social, societal, and/or environmental need that is underserved or unmet by conventional markets. Indeed, its performance is evaluated by the positive social or environmental impact it generates.

2. A Viable Economic Endeavor

Secondly, the name suggests, a social enterprise is, first and foremost, a business. Nevertheless, it is essential to establish a sound business model that includes taking calculated risks and fostering innovation. Afterwards, the aim of a social enterprise is to produce goods and/or services, create wealth, job opportunities, and meet specific needs, all while operating independently of public authorities. Contrary to misconceptions, a social enterprise must create value, generate surpluses, and evolve economically, much like a traditional business.

3. Balanced Profitability and Democratic Governance

We mention limited profitability, well, it doesn’t imply a lack of profitability. Instead, profitability becomes a means to advance the company’s social mission. And, the development of the business endeavor takes precedence.


In this way, social enterprise distinctly conveys its commitment to subject economic performance to a broader public interest criterion. To conclude, profit is no longer the sole focus; rather, it becomes a means to achieve more significant goals, with social, societal, or environmental priorities taking precedence.

What is social entrepreneurship?
What is social entrepreneurship?

What is social entrepreneurship? A New Wave of Entrepreneurs: Scientific and Industrial Social Entrepreneurs

Furthermore, scientific social entrepreneurs bridge the realms of scientific research and social entrepreneurship. Due to, they leverage scientific research to develop practical, effective, and accessible solutions.

In fact, at SoScience, we’ve identified three categories of scientific social entrepreneurs:

1. Researchers Turned Entrepreneurs

First of all, these individuals apply their scientific expertise to address social issues. Whether within their research institution or beyond.

  • For instance, consider Beeodiversity, a Belgian social enterprise founded by Kim Nguyen, a researcher at the University of Liège. After completing his research on factors contributing to bee mortality – including pollution, biodiversity loss, and disease – he sought to apply his findings effectively for the conservation of pollinators and the environment. Consequently, he established his own company, aiding others in monitoring environmental quality through honey bee data analysis.

2. Collaborations Between Scientists and Social Entrepreneurs

Next, visionary social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas collaborate with scientists possessing specialized knowledge and skills. In other words, this partnership brings science and society together to bring these ideas to life.

  • By example, in 1994,  Michel Lescanne of Nutriset, partnered with André Briend, from the Institute de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) to make significant strides in combating malnutrition. Precisely, they introduced Ready-to-use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs). Thus, they offer accessible nutritional solutions for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition among vulnerable populations.

3. What is social entrepreneurship when Social Entrepreneurs Embrace Science?

Then, some social entrepreneurs enhance their scientific skills to effectively implement their social entrepreneurship projects.

  • Let’s take the French social enterprise Leka. Indeed, those founders sought to create a solution for children facing social interaction challenges. Despite, not being robotics experts themselves, they recognize the potential of using a robot as a therapeutic tool. Finally, they acquired the necessary skills to develop a prototype.

In conclusion, social entrepreneurship is an innovative approach to business that places societal and environmental well-being at its core. Furthermore, fostering a balance between economic success and the pursuit of broader social goals. And consequently, scientific and industrial social entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in developing practical solutions to address pressing issues in our society.

Further information:

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