Tuesday, April 07, 2009

(Social) Entrepreneur of the Decade

I am no pundit. But Jim Collins is (in the more traditional definition of the word). In a recent interview, he says Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, is the entrepreneur of the decade.

"Her organization is truly an entrepreneurial creation that is out to utterly transform education. It's taking an entrepreneurial, let's-do-something approach to tackling a massive social problem.

And his runners up? Jobs, Chouinard, Roddick, Schultz and Bezos. He gets enthusiastic too, about what he calls the next stage of entrepreneurship, which involves not just building a great company, but a great movement. Sounds a bit like Paul Hawken or Paul Light. If building great movements is the next stage, social entrepreneurs will continue to get JC's blessing, and the line between activists and entrepreneurs will continue to blur.

Paul Graham is also naming names for his top 5 founders. Steve Jobs is tops on his list.

"A lot of startup culture is Apple culture. [Jobs]was the original young founder. And while the concept of "insanely great" already existed in the arts, it was a novel idea to introduce into a company in the 1980s."

As always, both Collins and Graham are worth reading. But props to Collins for selecting a young, female social entrepreneur as his entrepreneurial hero. Ground breaking, unfortunately.*

I recently blogged on Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen Fund, a Fast Company Social Capitalist. So maybe it's is a trend. But that will be up to some pundit to claim with any certainty.
* I recognize that Anita Roddick was a woman and a social entrepreneur. So Collins goes 2 out of 6.

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