The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur

One of the first reports on social entrepreneurship ever published, this Demos report looks at five exemplary social entrepreneurs devising new solutions to pressing social challenges.

A growing band of social entrepreneurs, working at the grass roots of the welfare system in the space between the public and private sector, are developing innovative answers to many of Britain’s most pressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs are leading innovation in the most dynamic parts of the voluntary sector and on the edge of the public sector, often with the help of private sector partners. They frequently use business methods to find new solutions to problems such as homelessness, drug dependency and joblessness. They create innovative services by taking underutilised resources – particularly buildings and people – to address social needs left unmet by the public sector or the market. This report is based on case studies of five inspirational schemes which exemplify the potential of social entrepreneurs to create forms of active welfare which are both cheaper and more effective than the traditional services offered by the welfare state.

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