Social entrepreneurs are mission-driven. Their primary goal is to generate social value by mitigating a social problem or market failure, or meeting a social need or challenge. Equally, social entrepreneurs are market-oriented. They pursue goals in an entrepreneurial manner, generating their own revenues to sustain themselves.

Social entrepreneurs consistently identify and respond to societal needs long before the bulk of the marketplace acknowledges them. They are on the cutting edge when it comes to dealing with certain needs, and as a consequence they are innovating as a matter of course.  Entrepreneurs are an important engine for innovation in society. But as a subset, social entrepreneurs are especially important. Social entrepreneurs bring “new to the world” products and services at nearly twice the rate of entrepreneurs without a social mission.

And once launched, social enterprises continue to implement new-to-the-market innovations at remarkably high rates, in particular in the domains of services and processes.

Social enterprises are predominantly active in a wide range of important, societal domains – notably, the environment, health and well-being, development and community services, education, migration, ethical goods and services, poverty, and social inclusion.