What is a social entrepreneur?

Excerpts from Points of Light’s Civic Life research and magazine series.

Volunteer Houston is a proud Global Network affiliate of Points of Light, a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. As part of the network, we believe we’re on the cusp of what Points of Light calls the Civic Century, an age when people become the driving force that transforms our world. At Volunteer Houston, we agree, believing that sustained, meaningful civic engagement is what will define this era. Our role is to help facilitate civic engagement by removing barriers to entry and connecting people with opportunities.

Points of Light saw a need for a more holistic framework to help businesses, nonprofits and individuals to understand, identify and engage in the full scope of civic life, and developed the Points of Light Civic Circle in recognition of the many different ways people are living a civic life and driving change in their communities.

This framework is a way for people, nonprofits and businesses to recognize both the challenges and opportunities in our communities and to get involved.


Points of Light’s Civic Circle highlights that doing good comes in many forms and there are a variety of ways to get involved. It represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and to lead a civic life.

Which of these nine methods of civic engagement speak to you the most?


Have you ever heard of or worked with a social entrepreneur? Or do you strive to be one? Social entrepreneurs are individuals or groups who identifies a need that has not been met by traditional structures around them. They develop creative solutions to make a positive social impact, and they’re critical to solving society’s toughest challenges. Learn more about the role they play in Points of Light’s digital magazine, Civic Life Today.

Civic Life Today is a new digital magazine that will be comprised of nine issues and brought to us by Points of Light. Each issue will take an in-depth look at an element on Points of Light’s Civic Circle, providing materials, ideas and inspiration for being civically engaged.

This issue of Civic Life Today examines the work and world of social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs get to the root of causes; they identify a need that has not been met by traditional structures and then work to solve it. In this issue, explore who social entrepreneurs are, how they work, how everyday individuals can support their efforts and more.