Abstract

Venture creation resulting from the exploitation of opportunities to help relieve social ills, halt the depletion of natural resources, and build sustainable futures is creating a new generation of mission-based, social entrepreneurs. Given this momentum academic interest in social entrepreneurship is gaining popularity (Mair & Marti, 2004; Austin & Stevenson, 2006). Yet, empirical research to date is limited with a primary focus on the non-profit context and individual actions of social entrepreneurs with less work examining the extent to which for-profit ventures engage in entrepreneurial processes to solve social problems (Dees, 1998). This research explores social entrepreneurship activity in the United States and assesses to what degree social entrepreneurs pursue social goals over, or in conjunction with, economic goals. Though noble in their attempt, the challenge of achieving social and economic performance is a significant problem facing both nascent and established entrepreneurs.

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