Character Traits of Social Entrepreneurs

Dilip Barot, Founder of Creative Choice Homes and social entrepreneur, shares key tips to giving back

10-16-15 - Character Traits of Social Entrepreneurs

As a professional and business leader, it often feels like there are no shortage of opportunities to give back. Whether you organize the company charity event, lead the team walkathon or donate personal funds to a cause that matters, it would seem there are not enough hours in the day to make a significant difference.  But social entrepreneurs are leaders who leverage their business status to champion change that makes not only their company better, but the world a better place to live in as well.  In the past 30 years, as the founder of Creative Choice Group, I have been fortunate to combine my commercial real estate efforts with projects that help create homes for low income families.  It is a great blessing to work in a field I love but also help others that are less fortunate. Becoming a social entrepreneur sounds complicated but there are a few key characteristics that we all share.  Check out the following list below.  I think you will see that being socially aware and driving change is within the reach of any leader willing to put forth an effort.

So, what characteristics do social entrepreneurs share?  According to a report from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, the following noteworthy qualities are shared:

  • First and foremost—on social value creation they are willing to share their innovations and insights for others to replicate
  • They can think out of the box. They are known to shrug off the constraints of ideology or discipline
  • They can identify and apply practical solutions to social problems, combining innovation, resourcefulness, and opportunity
  • Social Entrepreneurs innovate by finding a new product, a new service, or a new approach to a social problem
  • They are willing to jump in before ensuring they are fully resourced
  • They show extreme determination that pushes them to take risks that others wouldn’t dare
  • Social entrepreneurs balance their passion for change with a zeal to measure and monitor their impact
  • They feel that they have a great deal to teach change makers in other sectors
  • And lastly, they display a healthy impatience (e.g., they don’t do well in bureaucracies). They want to take action and get results.

Finding what matters to you and more importantly, how your firm can impact change does not have to be revolutionary or complicated.  Clean drinking water, eco-friendly products, funding education etc. are all common themes you may find across business sectors.  The real measure of social entrepreneurship is not about catchy phrases or marketing campaigns. It is a result of direct action to generate a paradigm shift in the way a societal need is met.  Being a change agent and helping shape the future is a powerful thing.  It’s time to find a way to be a catalyst.