Entrepreneur: a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. – Dictionary.com

Entrepreneurship is nothing new. As a matter of fact, it’s basically what our idea of business is built upon. The American Dream and all. I think the above definition leaves out a crucial aspect of the entrepreneur, though, and that is the impact on communities, especially those local to where one operates their business or enterprise. Or as Vince Skolny shared with me: “When I think of social entrepreneur, I think of those using (entrepreneurial) methods to create impact on society.

So I wonder about the impact of social media/networking and social communities on how we view entrepreneurship. Or, more pointedly, What IS a social entrepreneur? Vince expands on that question as follows: “I don’t think of it as a ‘social media’ thing. Having said that… I think startups are (definitely) ‘entrepreneurial’ but markedly not ‘social entrepreneurs’ (as I defined it). The distinction being that “There (the) emphasis is on the exit strategy and making as much $$ as possible, not any sort of social mission. (Broad brush, I’m sure there are exceptions)

The social entrepreneur. Is that redundant? Social media and social networking creates opportunity for expanding our influence far past our local sphere. Does that change the concept of the entrepreneur? Vince says maybe: “I don’t think social changed what an entrepreneur is, but I (definitely) think it’s changed how we do our work and (in some ways) ease of entry. I also think social has helped immensely with genuine social entrepreneurship.” That is, the kind of socially conscious entrepreneurial enterprise that use the reach, influence and power of social media to enhance the good that they do.

What do you think? How has the cultural phenomenon of social media impacted entrepreneurship?

Q1) How would you characterize a ‘social entrepreneur’?

Q2) How has social media affected the traditional definition of an entrepreneur?

Q3) Are what we know as technology startups (social) entrepreneurial enterprises? Explain.

Q4) How does the massive reach of social media affect your idea of what an entrepreneur is?

Q5) Does a big payout exit strategy = entrepreneurship? Why/Why not?