All Entrepreneurship is Social

There is a tremendous amount of fuzzy thinking around terms like "social entrepreneurship," "social business," and "socially responsible business." When people ask me what I think about social entrepreneurship, I first say I'm not sure what social entrepreneurship means. I'm not sure what makes it deserving of its own term. Then I say I think for-profit entrepreneurship does huge amounts of social good so I'm going to stay focused on that.

Carl Schramm recently wrote an excellent short piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review called All Entrepreneurship is Social. Nut graf:

…regular entrepreneurs create thousands of jobs, improve the quality of goods and services available to consumers, and ultimately raise standards of living. Indeed, the intertwined histories of business and health in the United States suggests that all entrepreneurship is social entrepreneurship.

He goes to succinctly expand upon this point. He notes:

Entrepreneurs typically generate a surplus benefit above and beyond the profits they reap, finds the…economist William Nordhaus. Nordhaus has calculated that entrepreneurs capture only about 2 percent of this surplus, with the remainder passed on to society in the form of jobs, wages, and value.

As Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, said: "Income is the best medicine.”

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