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Who are Entrepreneurs?

Many people think that entrepreneurs (and entrepreneurship) are associated with starting and owning a business—being one’s own “boss”. However, being an entrepreneur is about more than an equity stake in one’s own business. It is about showing leadership in turning an idea into a project, concept, or venture; it is about being persistent and taking risks to achieve a goal. Entrepreneurs thrive by investing themselves in their passion and realizing their dreams. Entrepreneurs are highly resourceful, resilient, and innovative and they are team players.

Our global economy, technology, and social change have resulted in significant change in what may be viewed as the traditional employer-employee dynamics. This has led to a significant shift in the value placed on an entrepreneurial mindset; a mindset where innovation, resourcefulness, problem solving, and risk taking is evident and will generate inspiring entrepreneurs as well as valued employees across many businesses and organizations.

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur in a social context?

Social entrepreneurs are individuals who recognize a social problem and use entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to bring about social change (a social enterprise).

Social entrepreneurs are leaders who demonstrate persistence and creativity and take risks in finding solutions to a problem. They are driven and demonstrate a passion, resourcefulness, and resilience in bringing about change.

Social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in “for-profit” ventures share common characteristics. While significant differences may be perceived between each, for-profit business can be run with a focus on social enterprise. For many entrepreneurs who wish to sustain their focus on social change, the venture is developed and delivered with a focus on a balanced bottom line.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

The entrepreneurial spirit is a mentality that is conducive to taking the initiative, meeting challenges, and becoming the architect of one’s own future. Entrepreneurial spirit is related to action. It is different from having an enterprising spirit in that it is not necessarily associated with starting up a business or seeking profits. In practical terms, young people’s entrepreneurial spirit develops from a willingness to fully commit to what they want to do and finish what they start, while taking into account the impact of their actions on themselves, on others, and on the environment in a conscious and ethical way. Getting young people to develop their entrepreneurial spirit entails developing their entrepreneurial qualities (e.g., self-confidence, commitment, leadership, ingenuity/creativity, solidarity, independence, team spirit, sense of initiative, sense of responsibility, sense of organization) and attitudes (e.g., pride in identity and culture, constant search for innovation, community involvement).