Pioneers of Change SE Community of Practice

The Social Entrepreneurship Community of Practice


This community of practice is exploring social entrepreneurship. It engages pioneers who are social entrepreneurs themselves or who are working to support the field of social entrepreneurship. We exchange ideas in order to make our ventures more impactful, to share challenges and opportunities, to understand our work better, to explore the meaning of social entrepreneurship, and to draw useful lessons from our experiments for the broader Pioneers of Change network. To contact the hosts of this group email Charlotte (, Neema ( or Maria (


1. Write about things related to our personal experience. Information is everywhere; this Community is about linking people’s experience and thinking. Please don’t send wikipedias but your own thoughts!

2. Think of this Community when you need to tap into the knowledge, experience and resources of others. Bring up your Needs!

3. This Community is a collaborative space and not a channel. Take the initiative and host your own conversation, respond to people, feed the discussion. Use it, use it, use it!

Invite others

To invite people you think would be interested in this Community simply tell them to subscribe here:

The online space

Go to to have a look at the articles and links, as well as archived emails related to this list. For suggestions here please contact the hosts of this group.

About the hosts

Neema, Charlotte and Maria are the current hosts, please get in touch with them if you have any suggestions or if you would like to join the hosting team.

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2 Antworten zu Pioneers of Change SE Community of Practice

  1. fraukegodat schreibt:

    The discussion of the last days on this list has made me aware of how frequently and in all sorts of ways the term social entrepreneur is used these days (especially here in Washington), and it makes me wonder how much of that is not similar to other concepts that carried much hope (e.g. participation, empowerment): once they are „mainstreamed“ much of their underlying values and principles are not understood anymore and being „participatory“ becomes part of a checklist without really assessing whether peoples lives have actually improved.

    I realize that this sounds very cynical, and I do not want to suggest that we should stop advocating for real participation and people’s empowerment. What I would be interested in, though, is to get a sense from the people on this list what the basic values and principles of this concept „Social Entrepreneurship“ are, why it should be supported and how this can be done.

  2. fraukegodat schreibt:

    On our last Pioneers meeting in Germany we discussed about it.
    We also started looking at the public definitions from Skoll foundation, etc. but then got into a discussion, what makes, for us based on our experiences, a Social Entrepreneur and makes him different from a Social Pioneer

    The key for us was that social entrepreneurs are re-investing the money made !
    Entrepreneurs we felt are in comparison to institutions privately held and always strive for making money as this drives search for efficient and effective solutions in an economical way. The key question though is, what you do with this money, whether you give it away to the stakeholder or leave it to re-invest it into the purpose/issue.

    From the social point of view, we found, that definitions range from a pioneering aspect like addressing social poblems with innovative approaches over finding entrepreneurial (privately held companies) ways of funding for social activities up to running businesses with social respect. We felt that social should not mean being inefficent or wasting money. Today a lot donations for instances are not used effectively and efficently. An economic approach would make more out of them.

    From the entrepreneurial point of view they range from working in self-driven but employed environment over being a freelancer up to found a business or organization. As you can approach social issues also from a governmental or institutional side, they are publicly owned and though tax financed. This is transfer money, which creates dependency. Entrepreneurial solutions though are (half-)privately owned and driven and with the focus to optimize the rsources you have to solve this social problem.

    Again, with this the important question is, how do you use the money you made. Here the sustainability questions starts. Donation do not necessarily create sustainability.

    In comparison, Social Pioneering might better extract the innovative character of approaches and do not necessarily have to be entrepreneurial. They focus on the solution and not on the form or way chosen. Social investments might better highlight the focus on social projects, certain target groups or on lower return expectations.

    Although not described by the term directly itself, we felt that social entrepreneurship has to imply also the resposible treatment of ist own entrepreneurial oganization and people.

    Given this, we found that it’s difficult to define a social problem as they change over time. Environmental issues for instances are/were social issues but got kind of mainstream in politics and public, at least in Germany. That’s a big success as established structures, markets and organizations will optimize it in their daily operations.

    An interesting example, we discussed were automotive producer 150 years ago. They also addressed a social issue, the issue of transportation and mobility. (if you define social as issues that society care about, in a more narrow view, definig social as the human basics probably not) This is no longer an issue. The issue now is not a social issue per se, the issue is to travel environmentally friendly, which we would call a social issue today. The social aspect though is a matter of time. The entrepreneurial is a matter of direction to provide sustainability over time.

    For me this discussion was very enlighting and helpful to see that entrepreneurial approaches are, as a lot of family driven companies in the world show, directly linked with social issues. Even more those issues are the inspiration fo entreprneurs to find innovative and sustainable solutions.

    Thanks for the people, who joined this discussion and may be they have to add or comment on this as I know that there are still some different understandings on how to put NGOs into this frame.

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