Social Entrepreneurship

By Jones, Angela Lewellyn; Warner, Beth et al. | Planning for Higher Education, July-September 2010 | Go to article overview

Social Entrepreneurship

Jones, Angela Lewellyn, Warner, Beth, Kiser, Pamela M., Planning for Higher Education

The "New Kid" on the University Block

Been wondering what people mean when they say "social entrepreneurship"? Wonder no more.

With the convergence of an ailing economy, a new generation of political leaders, and a strong public sentiment that change is needed on many fronts within our society and across the world, the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship has found new life and is flourishing within society as a whole and within higher education in particular. Yet, there exists some confusion and debate about the definition of social entrepreneurship and whether it is a useful concept for application across disciplines within the academy. There are also questions about where such programs should be situated within the academy. Do they belong in the business school alongside entrepreneurship education? Are they a better fit for the social sciences? Is social entrepreneurship an interdisciplinary field of study or a multidisciplinary field? This article seeks to shed light on these questions by examining the origin and evolution of the term "social entrepreneurship" and its use by practitioners outside the academy. Drawing upon this background, the article suggests a conceptualization of social entrepreneurship that would situate it broadly in the curriculum rather than limiting it to one discipline.

Social Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurship Education

Social entrepreneurship is a term frequently used in popular publications today. Recent articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, U SA Today, the Washington Post, and many others tell the story of a burgeoning field in which business practices (sometimes involving the creation of a sustainable revenue stream) meet social responsibility and a strong desire for social change. In the past two years alone, there have been over 1,000 news stories covering everything from conferences focusing on the convergence of entrepreneurship and social responsibility (European Economic and Social Committee 2008), to learning the all-important elevator speech for one's social entrepreneurship venture (Wake Forest University 2008), to the genesis of social entrepreneurship programs on university campuses across the United States (Babson College 2008).

General entrepreneurship education is well-established in academe. Entrepreneur andine Princeton Review published a list of the top 50 colleges and universities for entrepreneurship education in 2009, and included on the list of undergraduate institutions were such schools as University of Houston, Babson College, and Drexel, DePaul, and Temple Universities (Entrepreneur and The Princeton Review 2009). In fact, Zwaniecki (2008, H 6) notes that "[i]n 1970, no more than a handful of such programs existed. By the early 2000s, about 1,600 universities and colleges offered 2,200 entrepreneurship courses, according to a 2003 study." Those numbers have grown significantly over the past seven years, but one is still left to discern whether these university programs are simply traditional entrepreneurship programs grounded in business school ideas or whether they include social entrepreneurship and therefore might more readily be incorporated into other academic disciplines (e.g., social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and education). For example, in a recent New York Times article, "Dreamers and Doers" (Schwartz 2009), the author features the entrepreneurial education taking place at Babson College, the living-learning communities included in this educational experience, and many of the unique ideas Babson students have generated and implemented. Most of the ideas featured are entrepreneurial in nature, and, if one digs a little deeper, there is mention of students who have developed ideas focusing on societal change (e.g., a nonprofit organization intended to help fight for human rights in Darfur). Babson is but one of many institutions that includes social entrepreneurship initiatives as part of its broader entrepreneurship education program. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Social Entrepreneurship


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.