List of social entrepreneurs

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A social entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who works to increase social capital, often by founding humanitarian organizations.

Historical examples of leading social entrepreneurs[edit]

  • Maria Montessori (Italy) – Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
  • Florence Nightingale (UK) – 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 Woolman (U.S.) – Led U.S. Quakers to voluntarily emancipate all their slaves between 1758 and 1800, his work also influenced the British Society of Friends, a major force behind the British decision to ban slaveholding. Quakers, of course, became a major force in the U.S. abolitionist movement as well as a key part of the infrastructure of the Underground Railroad.

Present day social entrepreneurs[edit]

  • Ela Bhatt (India) – Founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) and the SEWA Cooperative Bank in Gujarat.À
  • Jeroo Billimoria (Mumbai, India) - Founder and Managing Director of Child and Youth Finance International.
  • Thinlas Chorol (India) – Founder of the Ladadakhi Women's Travel Company, which despite social norms work to bring women into, the otherwise male-dominated Ladakhi tourism industry.
  • Marian Wright Edelman (U.S.) – Founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and advocate for disadvantaged Americans and children.
  • Jim Fruchterman (U.S.) - founder and CEO of Benetech, a Silicon Valley nonprofit technology company that develops software applications to address unmet needs of users in the social sector.
  • Scott Gilmore (Canada) - Founder, Building Markets, a non-profit organization that builds markets, creates jobs and sustains peace in developing countries.
  • Harish Hande (India) – Founder of Selco India, a solar electric light company in 1995, which over the years has lit up over 120,000 households, to emerge as India's leading solar technology firm. Magsaysay Award 2011.[2]
  • Amir Alexander Hasson – Founder of First Mile Solutions and United Villages, Amir has built networks impacting the lives of millions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America is currently an Entrepreneur In Residence at MIT and a Mentor at the Harvard iLab.
  • Paul Rice (U.S.) - President & CEO of Fair Trade USA
  • Albina Ruiz (Peru) - Founder and leader of Ciudad Saludable, a non-profit environmental health organization
  • Amitabh Shah (India) – Founder of Yuva Unstoppable, which works for 250,000 underprivileged children mobilizing 100,000 volunteers from 32 cities
  • Chris Underhill (U.K.) - founder, BasicNeeds, a global mental health organisation, which works with people with mental illness or epilepsy in the developing world.
  • Mabel van Oranje (Netherlands) - Founder and board chair, Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage
  • Sakena Yacoobi (Afghanistan) – executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), an Afghan women-led NGO she founded in 1995.


References[edit]