All Ideas
July 19, 2012 | Lara Galinsky

Not Everyone Should Be a Social Entrepreneur

Lara Galinsky, senior vice president of Echoing Green, published "Not Everyone Should Be a Social Entrepreneur" on the Harvard Business Review this morning. Read an excerpt below, or read the entire piece here.

"I want to be a social entrepreneur." I hear it nearly every day. Not just from those applying for Echoing Green's social entrepreneurship fellowship, but from high school students, college students, and young professionals. They excitedly tell me that they want to launch organizations to improve education in Africa, to better the livelihood of women in inner city Chicago, or solve any number of other big problems. It's clear that this field has captured the imagination of the Millennial generation. From Babson to Berkeley, students today can take a variety of courses on social entrepreneurship, minor in the subject, and will soon be able to major in it. Today, more than 30 business schools offer substantive programs at the graduate level, when just a few years ago such a thing was unheard of.

You would think as someone who works in an organization that promotes the social entrepreneurship movement, I would be happy about this explosion in popularity. And I am. But, it is not without its dangers.

There is something alluring about being a social entrepreneur. Echoing Green's Fellowship, along with other similar programs, shines a bright light on social entrepreneurs, often making them stars. At Echoing Green, we pull about 20-30 of these stars from 3,500 applications each year.

But social entrepreneurs alone cannot change the world....

Read the rest of the article on HBR here.

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