10 inspiring social entrepreneurship quotes that will make you think

31st Aug 2013
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Words have the power to make you smile, quicken your heartbeat, make you think, spur you to action and maybe even quit your job and take a stab at changing the world. We bring the thoughts of 10 stalwarts who have positively shaped our world.

Read, absorb and press into action.

1) Who?

Bill Drayton


Pic courtesy: fuzeus.wordpress.comImportance:

Drayton founded Ashoka Changemakers and is one of the world’s foremost thinkers in the world of social entrepreneurship. He was the first to recognize and support social entrepreneurs dubbing them change-makers.

Best quote:

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”

2) Who?

Muhammad Yunus


Pic courtesy: www.goodreads.comImportance:

Yunus is founder of Grameen Bank, the pioneer in the microfinance industry, he’s also a Nobel prize winner. Leveraging the power of micro-loans he was responsible for lifting millions of women out of poverty.

Favorite quote:

“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.”

3) Who?

Mahatma Gandhi.



If you need to know, we rather not say.

Favorite quote:

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”

4) Who?

Jacqueline Novogratz



Founder of Acumen Fund, an impact investing firm, she’s one of the most well-respected individuals in the social entrepreneurship universe.

Favorite quote:

“My dream is to find individuals who take financial resources and convert them into changing the world in the most positive ways.”

5) Who?

Jeff Skoll



After co-founding eBay, Skoll decided to use his billions to set up the Skoll Foundation to invest, recognize and connect social entrepreneurs. Skoll also founded Participant Media, to make movies that matter.

Favorite quote:

“I believe that Silicon Valley is truly a place of excellence and the impact of this tiny community on the world is completely disproportionate to its size. We are the undisputed leaders of technological change. But with our abundance of talent and resources, we also have the opportunity to be the pioneers of social change and, ultimately, this may be our greatest contribution.”

6) Who?

David Bornstein


Picture courtesy: philanthrofiles.orgImportance:

Bornstein is author of what is considered as the social entrepreneurship Bible, ‘How to change the world’, where he wrote about social entrepreneurs, and the power of new ideas. He’s also founder of Solutions Network Journalism that seeks to support journalists who seek to write about issues that matter.

Favorite quote:

“The communications revolution has given millions of people both a wider and more detailed understanding of the world. Because of technology, ordinary citizens enjoy access to information that formerly was available only to elites and nation-states. One consequence of this change is that citizens have become acutely conscious of environmental destruction, entrenched poverty, health catastrophes, human rights abuses, failing education systems, and escalating violence. Another consequence is that people possess powerful communication tools to coordinate efforts to attack those problems.”

7) Who?

Pierre Omidyar


Picture courtesy: pitchyourtalent.wordpress.comImportance:

Omidyar is a co-founder of eBay, but he’s increasingly becoming more famous for his efforts in philanthrophy. He set up Omidyar Network, a venture philanthropy firm, with his wife Pam to invest in social entrepreneurs using a mix of grant and equity.

Favorite quote:

“We believe people are basically good; we believe everyone has something to contribute; we believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people; we recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual; we encourage you to treat others the way you want to be treated.”

8) Who?

Verghese Kurien


Picture courtesy: www.hindustantimes.comImportance:

Single handedly made India go from a milk-importing country to the world’s largest producer through his organization Amul. Also helped lakhs of women to become financially independent through the self-ownership cooperative model of Amul.

Favorite quote:

“India’s place in the sun would come from the partnership between wisdom of its rural people and skill of its professionals”

9) Who?

Bill Gates.


Picture courtesy: www.winbeta.orgImportance:

Gates may have helped make the personal computer a commercial success through Microsoft, but he will be remembered in time to come because of the philanthropic work that he’s doing through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. No everybody gets to have two separate, very successful careers, or become the world’s richest man, and then give it all away.

Favorite quote:

“Humanity’s greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”

10) Who?

Florence Nightingale.


Picture courtesy: www.passudiary.comImportance:

She may have been one of the world’s first social entrepreneurs. Nightingale is the founder of modern nursing, a prolific writer, statistician, administrator and social reformer. Her exploits first came to the fore in the Crimean war.

Favorite quote:

“Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”


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