Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship is quickly gaining a renowned currency around the world. To which Social Entrepreneurship is my field of expertise, saw the need to address the importance of social entrepreneurship by first focusing on what it is, the reason why it exists, information pertaining to entrepreneurship essentials and most importantly why one should consider social entrepreneurship as a venture of expertise.

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

First and foremost is the definition of social entrepreneurship. Social Entrepreneurship  is an entrepreneurial venture that aims to achieve a desired social change. It typically furthers broad social, cultural and environmental goals and is commonly associated with the voluntary and non-profit sectors though profit can at times also be a consideration.


Who is a Social Entrepreneur?

Therefore a social entrepreneur is an individual that identifies and solves a social problem on a large scale. These individuals seize opportunities others miss with the objective of improving current systems, inventing and disseminating new approaches to advance sustainable solutions that create social value, they act as change agents for their societies.

Social Entrepreneurs primarily seek to generate social value rather than profits, where the work done is targeted not only towards immediate, small-scale effects, but sweeping long term change.
Simply put, social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world.
Social entrepreneurs are ambitious, mission driven, strategic, resourceful and results orientated individuals.

What does a Social Entrepreneur do?

A social entrepreneurs job is to identify a problem, think of suitable innovative ideas to solve the problem and of all ideas sought, one solution has to be chosen that will best FIX the problem. There after implementation follows and the solution is put to action to create an impact, where the measurement of the impact can be examined by an evaluation on the difference made after the initial problem, which is by opening new pathways for the disadvantaged by unlocking the societies full potential to reach social change where in the long run results in a better life and ultimately towards social cohesion.

After getting understanding on what a social entrepreneur does, and what the primary job of a social entrepreneur is, It is very important to distinguish between a Social Entrepreneur, Volunteer and a Philanthropist. Which are 3 (three) most common terms used in the field of social development.

A brief comparison and description of each is explained below:

The difference between a Social Entrepreneur, Volunteer and Philanthropist.

One of the main reason why touching on this particular  aspect is due to the questions and uncertainty of what a social entrepreneur really is and whether or not it can be classified as simply "active volunteerism"
The research for the definition was sparked by a young volunteer who was exceptionally passionate about social responsibility and wanted to know where she should classify herself as a volunteer or social entrepreneur as her question read:  "Are Volunteers also Social Entrepreneurs?"

The answer is NO. A social entrepreneur and a volunteer are 2 different aspects. Compared to a social entrepreneur, whom is n individual  who identifies a problem and through the process of innovation, seeks solutions to ensure that the problem is fixed and impact is reached (or improves an existing system to create social change by ensuring that more people benefit from its existence). Whereas  a volunteer is an individual that provides labour for free, (for no financial gain).

Further explained; Social entrepreneurs start or improve something that is already in place, but volunteers do not. In most cases volunteers are recruited to fulfil a very specific task that is part of an existing program.
Innovation is the primary requirement and is always part of social entrepreneurship, but innovation is not required to be a volunteer, hence volunteers provide pre-determined tasks where there is barely no expectation for innovation.

The biggest difference between the two however, is that Volunteers are never paid (unless there is an agreement with the particular organisation that the volunteer will be affiliated with or volunteers are required to pay a certain fee if they wish to travel outside their geographic locations for volunteering purposes, where the costs go towards the organisation, to cover related costs for the volunteers travels or as means of fundraising for their initiatives), but  social entrepreneurs are usually paid and this is the exciting dimension of social entrepreneurship.

A theme that connects social entrepreneurship and volunteerism is the desire to help people in need. However, there are some interesting differences as mentioned above.


What is a  Philanthropist?

By Definition: A philanthropist is a  person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, esp. by the generous donation of money to good causes.

Therefore it is understood that a philanthropist is an individual who engages in activities to benefit people and society. Though philanthropy is often associated with people who are wealthy (because they have more resources to donate to philanthropy) people in a wide range of social and economic classes engage in   philanthropy. Philanthropists are often rewarded for their actions with tax breaks, and increase in social status. and other benefits, but also claim altruism as a motivation, though others prefer to remain anonymous so that the focus is on the benefit being provided rather that the person contributing them

What is the Relationship between a Social Entrepreneur, Volunteer and a Philanthropist?

A Social Entrepreneur invents a new system or improves an existing one. Thereafter (in most common cases) the innovation will be costly and the social entrepreneur therefore requires assistance in terms of costs, skills (if it is building or restructuring something physical or where intangible skills are needed to get the job/system working) the Social Entrepreneur would consult a volunteer who is willing to work for free, expecting no financial gain in return.
 In a case where new equipment needs to be bought in order for the system to start working so the beneficiaries can use it successfully, the social entrepreneur therefore makes use of philanthropists who donate money , time and material goods to support the cause.


Why should you consider Social Entrepreneurship as an area of expertise?

Watch the video below and let it be your motivation!


The Skoll Foundation has recently completed a short film about the field of social entrepreneurship. Its a great overview of the progress made over the last three decades. It starts with Mohammad Yunus and includes interviews with a number of social entrepreneurs and others in the field, including Sally Osberg of the Skoll Foundation, Bill Drayton of Ashoka, Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund, John Elkington of Volans, and author David Bornstein.


Hello there world! 

You'll be reading a lot from and about me. I certainly am destined to stay - so careful now, I can't wait to start my new blogging experience. As excited as I am about it, i surely do know its going to be awesome!

Zanele is a Spark International Changemaker 2013 Alumni, of 120 applications was amongst 18 to be selected from all over South Africa to attend the Spark Accelerator program facilitated by CEO of Spark, Aaron Tait. The Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy, which she Founded and currently sits as CEO, was also amongst 6 enterprises out of 950 applications received by Seed Engine to participate in their business accelerator incubation program through the SEED Institute based in Sandton, Johannesburg for 12 weeks.

Further being amongst 26 young women selected from around the world to attend the Young Women's Leadership Summit held in Washington DC at Georgetown University-McDough School of Business in June 2013, by Ilive2lead International, an international non-profit  organisation based in Washington DC that brings together exceptional young leaders from around the world, conducting leadership training and executive education with powerful women and global business industry leaders. Zanele got the opportunity to represent young women in South Africa at the United States Senate by engaging in round table, open discussions with senators, congress men and women and global ambassadors on socio-economic challenges affecting women around the world, and developing sustainable solutions to empowering and building stronger women leaders in developing and developed countries around the globe. Zanele is a Bachelors in Business Administration graduate student who aspired to study international relations and politics at Georgetown University.

She had been fortunate to be amongst 100 Brightest Young Minds chosen around South Africa and the rest of the world to attend the Brightest Young Minds Summit in August 2013. She expressed her experience as "worth every second" after the Summit, and being happy to be an Alumnus of BYM 2013. Soon after sponsored by South Africa's official marketing agency, Brand South Africa to participate in the 4th annual One Young World Summit that took place for the very first time in Africa, in Sandton Johannesburg in October 2013.

Through her commitments and passion to speak about issues that affect women and youth on a global scale,
Zanele was recently elected as a member and representative of the Youth Advisory Panel of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) after being invited to attend the Conference on Maternal, New Born and Child Health in Boksburg - Johannesburg during the year and invited to the Mail and Gardian Thinking Forum with the International Migrant Organisation, GIZ, Loveife and UNFPA, where she shared challenges that youth face as refugees and migrant in new countries from her experiences as well as proposing possible recommendations to be undertaken by the global organisations to stimulate change. Her participation was well appreciated and received massive applauds  for her tremendous contributions.

 She speaks humbly of her accomplishments and as the Founder of , the Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy, expresses her long term goal of seeing it prosper. "I want young people to dream, to dream beyond what they see. I want young people to Believe not only in themselves, but in others. I want young people - as they are said to be the largest population in the world - to use the power that lies
in their hands." She shared how the Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy aims to be the a continental institute for social entrepreneurs who implement change, where solutions stimulated by the use of  innovation, creativity and imagination come to life, to create a world where poverty and youth unemployment amongst other challenges, do not exist. "Effective leadership will be practiced within each economies governmental structure, political leaders will create successful and transparent institution of positive change with integrity. Women will play vital roles in the performance of their countries and gender inequalities will no longer be an issue. No young person will be unemployed, and poverty will not exist. The future of our generation and the next generation to come... - as Bishop Desmond Tutu once reiterated 'lies in our hands'." She said. Zanele aims to create that vision through the inauguration, development and growth of the Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy.

Zanele has a passion for marketing and is currently perusing her Bachelors in Business Administration Majoring in Marketing Management with the IMM Graduate School of Marketing. She keeps maintains a balanced and healthy lifestyle by not only playing tennis, yoga and netball, but she enjoys being outdoors hiking and doing any adventurous activities that give her an adrenalin rush to keep her active physically, mentally and spiritually. "3 things on my bucket list that i hope to do before the year 2015 are: bungee jumping, sky diving and scuba diving...don't ask me why I haven't done them yet.. all i can really say is "'They are extremely extreme sports and require A LOT of therapy!'"

As an ilive2lead  Global Ambassador Zanele got the chance to travel to Deauville and Paris in France to  attend the prestigious global annual meeting- the Women's Forum on Economy and Society, where she played a role in stimulating minds by asking relevant questions and steering attention to "listening to the new voices of the youth". She was one of 7 young women from 5 different continents invited to represent young women and men from their continents and part of the official media and press, blogging about their experiences after interviewing global leaders, CEO's, Founders and representatives of multi-national co-operations from around Europe and the world. Their experiences were published on international press such as Forbes, Daily Beast, Huffington Post, ilive2lead Blog and Diplomatic Courier newspapers.

Having attended an AIESEC South Africa Conference in her early tertiary years and being a member of the largest youth lead organisation in the world, Zanele still finds time to offer her skills and energy to Non profitable organisations, such as the Reach for a Dream Organisation which has a national presence in South Africa. "I started volunteering at the tender age of 16, which helped me enhance my skills and attain not only experience in diverse fields and industries of expertise but, that of motivating me to achieve greater heights." She was elected Class Representative Leader, Student Representatives Board and Committee member of Varsity College Cares and the Golden Key International Honorary Society during her 1st and 2nd years of tertiary studies.

I hope to write more about my journey, as much as I would love to add accomplishments from the past, I'd rather keep space for future achievements! Nonetheless - Welcome to my blog!" - Zanele Mabaso

Follow Zanele on Twitter: @zanelemabaso23
Email zmabaso (at) hotmail (dot) com
Instagram: zanelemabaso23

The Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy on Twitter: @yseacademy
Email: info (at)
Instagram: yseacademy