A social entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who works to increase social capital, often by founding humanitarian organizations.
Historical examples of leading social entrepreneurs
* Susan B. Anthony (U.S.) - Fought for women's rights in the United States, including the right to control property, and helped spearhead adoption of the 19th amendment.
* Vinoba Bhave (India) - Founder and leader of the Land Gift Movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres (28,000 km²) of land to aid India's untouchables and landless. Mahatma Gandhi described him as his mentor.
* David Brower (U.S.) - Environmentalist and conservationist, he served as the Sierra Club's first executive director and built it into a worldwide network for environmental issues. He also founded Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters and The Earth Island Institute.
* Akhtar Hameed Khan (Pakistan) - Founder of grassroots movement for rural communities Comilla Model, and low-cost sanitation programmes (Orangi Pilot Project) for squatter settlements.
* Maria Montessori (Italy) - Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
* John Muir (U.S.) - Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.
* Florence Nightingale (UK) - Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.
* Frederick Law Olmsted (U.S.) - Creator of major urban parks, including Rock Creek Park in Washington DC, Central Park in NYC, and Mount Royal Park in Montreal, he is generally considered to have developed the profession of landscape architecture in America.
* Gifford Pinchot (U.S.) - Champion of the forest as a multiple use environment, he helped found the Yale School of Forestry and created the U.S. Forest Service, serving as its first chief.
* Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (Germany) - Pioneer of the rural bond of association as a substitute for collateral in microfinance, and a principal founder of the credit union and cooperative bank sectors that now form a major segment of the European banking system.
* Margaret Sanger (U.S.) - Founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she led the movement for family planning efforts around the world.
* John Woolman (U.S.) - Led U.S. Quakers to voluntarily emancipate all their slaves between 1758 and 1800, his work also influenced the British Society of Friends, a major force behind the British decision to ban slaveholding. Quakers, of course, became a major force in the U.S. abolitionist movement as well as a key part of the infrastructure of the Underground Railroad.
Present day leading social entrepreneurs
* Ibrahim Abouleish (Egypt) - Founder of SEKEM, a biodynamic agricltural corporation, alternative medicine, and educational center located outside of Cairo.
* Ela Bhatt (India) - Founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) and the SEWA Cooperative Bank in Gujarat.
* Nicholas Chan (Singapore) - Co-Founder of Project:Senso Ltd, the Pledge a Book movement and active advocate for Asian entrepreneurs in incorporating volunteerism and social enterprise into their lives and businesses.
* Bill Drayton (U.S.) - Founded Ashoka, Youth Venture, and Get America Working!
* Marian Wright Edelman (U.S.) - Founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and advocate for disadvantaged Americans and children.
* Dr. Abraham M. George (India) - Founder of The George Foundation (TGF).
* Alan Khazei (U.S.) - Co-Founder of City Year, a leading national service program.
* Dr. Verghese Kurien (India) - Founder of the AMUL Dairy Project.
* Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (India) - Founded Art of Living Foundation and International Association for Human Values.
* Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh) - Founder of microcredit and the Grameen Bank. He was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
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