Improving the world and the bottom line simultaneously has never been more on-trend. Social entrepreneurship, the concept of applying business techniques and market mechanisms to solve social problems, such as poverty, violent crime or environmental threats, has been around for decades.

The practice received a significant public boost, however, in 2003 when a group of NGO heads was invited to the first-ever social entrepreneurs session at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Since then the idea has been embraced globally by businesses, governments and non-profits alike.

The result is a new breed of socially-conscious business models and a rising demand for organisational leaders who can steer innovation along such lines.

A Multi-Purpose Model
In practice, social entrepreneurship is a flexible methodology that’s applied differently depending on the type of organisation, but the goal is the same – to help an organisation excel at its core mission. “Non-profits want to know how to move away from a charity-based model and toward more sustainable sources of funding that leverage their activities to generate revenue,” says Hans Wahl, Co-Director of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program (ISEP), an executive education course offered in Fontainebleau, France and Singapore. Integrating business ideas facilitates this. One such example is DC Central Kitchen, a non-profit in Washington, DC that provides free meals to homeless shelters and produces income by operating a catering service… more