Being a social entrepreneur is hard to define as there is no precise global definition, although there is a lot of history in the UK, where the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) was founded by Michael Young in 1997.
The term was first used in the literature of social change during the 1960’s and 1970’s. It means taking entrepreneurial methods including risk taking, learning from mistakes, self-confidence, determination, the ability to adapt and above all a passion for solving problems, then using them to solve social problems. These key traits are used to create businesses that measure performance not in terms of profit and return, but in creating businesses that measure their success by their positive impact on society.
Much social entrepreneurship developed in response to Strategic Regeneration. In Deptford London, post-1992, there was a local response built around cultural and ecological activists in Deptford Creekside where many abandoned industrial sites and offices were taken over by artists, and even the SSE. One such cultural response was Capture Arts who act as cultural brokers and have acted in pop-up spaces allowing social and cultural entrepreneurs to operate. Despite much intermittent local practice, no strategic approach to developing spaces for social entrepreneurs has emerged.