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The top 10 Social Entrepreneurs

List of Social Entrepreneur greatest of all time

In the past, many entrepreneurs chose to accumulate wealth in the private sector and become philanthropists later in life. However, now entrepreneurs can work to improve social issues through their businesses. Globally, a new business model has emerged that meshes businesses with governmental and social organizations. Nonprofits and for-profit businesses can team up to form a hybrid business model, led by a new generation of social entrepreneurs. These leaders successfully tackle social issues while generating profit for shareholders.

Widespread use of ethical practices such as impact investing, conscious consumerism, and corporate social responsibility programs facilitated the success of the following 10 social entrepreneurs

1. Bill Drayton

Interview with Bill Drayton

Bill Drayton is recognized as one of the pioneering social entrepreneurs of our time. Drayton founded Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in 1980, which takes a multifaceted approach to finding and supporting social entrepreneurs globally. Drayton also serves as chair of the board for Get America Working! and Youth Venture.

2. Muhammad Yunus

Global Yunus Social Business

Professor Muhammad Yunus is renowned for the popularization of microfinance and microcredit, which serve as the cornerstones of the Grameen Bank, founded in 1983. In 2006, Yunus was awarded the Nobel Prize for creating the Grameen Bank, which is based on the principles of trust and solidarity to empower villagers with the funding to pull themselves out of poverty. According to the Grameen Bank, as of May 2022, 90% of its about 9 million borrowers are women, who pay their loans back at a rate of 97%—a recovery rate higher than any traditional banking system. This renowned professor has received international awards like the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010, and the Olympic Laurel in 2021

3. Sanjit “Bunker” Roy

Bunker Roy - Wikipedia

Sanjit “Bunker” Roy had a privileged upbringing in India, in contrast to many Indians who live off of less than $1 per day. When Roy visited some of his country’s rural villages, he had a life-altering experience and decided to find a way to improve the social-economic inequities in his country. He founded Barefoot College in 1972, a solar-powered college for the poor. Roy describes Barefoot College as “the only college where the teacher is the learner and the learner is the teacher.”

4. Shaheen Mistri

Quote from Shaheen Mistri, CEO - Teach For India on school reopening in Maharashtra | Global Prime News

Shaheen Mistri is an Indian social activist and entrepreneur, as well as an educator. She founded the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organisation, in the year 1989. She established this foundation in order to provide a high-quality education to children that belong to communities and families of low income. Wanting to do more for society and inspired by the Teach For America model; in 2008, Shaheen established Teach For India, a non-profit organization. Since it has been established, through Teach For India, Shaheen has placed over 700 students in schools across India.

5. Ranjan Mistry

Ranjan Mistry - YouTube

Born into a lower middle-class family in Bihar, Ranjan Mistry witnessed the necessity of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to accelerate the development in Bihar.

Ranjan Mistry is an Indian Social Entrepreneur and Thinker known for developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bihar, and empowering millions of youths & women. Being an Indian Social Entrepreneur & thinker, He believes in Empowering Youths and Women; Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystem; Paving Social Entrepreneurship Culture; Investing in the Future of Bharat; Target Impacting Rural India; Leveraging Last Miles Indians for the strong foundation of Bharat. He founded Campus Varta to provide platform to rural students; and Women School of Entrepreneurship to fuel entrepreneurial spirit to last miles girls and women in India. He has laid down the foundation of Incubation Centre of Patna University for fostering students toward entrepreneurship. He is serving as advisory several organization like Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh, and Nav Astitva Foundation. He is founding Board Member of Medishala, a Bihar based Healthcare startup that provides healthcare services in rural Bihar. He served as an official mentor of Startup India, Startup Odisha, MP Startup and Startup Sikkim.

6. Jeroo Billmoria

Jeroo Billimoria, India's Lead Voice For Female Empowerment and Social..

Jeroo Billmoria is one of the renowned social entrepreneurs of India who is supervising several International NGOs for the betterment of society. She initiated the ‘Childline’ that aims to provide help in form of healthcare and police assistance, especially to street children. Right from her childhood, she had a vision of giving back to the underprivileged in the society. She also believed in self-empowerment of women in India.  Jeroo Billmoria was felicitated with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and is a Schwab and Ashoka Fellow as well.

7. Anshu Gupta

In Conversation: Anshu Gupta and Koga Yoshiaki “India Today—The New Horizons of Social Business” | IHJ Programs

Born in a middle-class family in Uttar Pradesh, took media as a profession and while as an intern he witnessed the need of proper clothing for the poor in rural India. Anshu then founded Goonj, a social enterprise that collects used clothing from the urban crowd, sort them, fix and later distribute among the poor and needy. The relief work was done by Goonj during the times of natural calamities in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been highly acknowledged.

8. Ajaita Shah

Ajaita Shah, an Indian entrepreneur, Social Activist and founder and CEO of Frontier Markets - VANITY STARDOM

Ajaita Shah works with a mission to empower rural India. She started at the gross level and aims to provide the best of technological solutions to the remote villages in India at the cheapest price possible. Ajaita Shah is the Founder & CEO of Frontier Markets that supplies solar energy powered products to rural India at an extremely affordable cost. The company has sold over 10,000 solar solutions until now and there is no stopping them until they light the remotest corners of the country.

9. Ashraf Patel

After the Babri Masjid demolition, we felt we needed to do something Ashraf Patel, social entrepreneur, co-founder of Pravah |

Ashraf Patel is a founder member and board member of Pravah and Commutiny–The Youth Collective. She is presently Director, Learning Voyages–Pravah and Organization Facilitator at Commutiny–The Youth Collective. An Ashoka Fellow and among the finalists of the Jubilant Schwab Award (SEOY- 2016), and winner of SEOY-2020. She was also awarded distinguished Alumni XLRI 2015. She is currently working on a mission to develop an Eco-system of multi-sectoral institutions called the Varta Leap Coalition, which is working to promote the vision of ‘Every Youth a Jagrik and Every Space Nurturing Jagriks’ to build the narrative of youth leadership based on values of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity at scale.

10. Neelam Chhiber (Rural Spark)

Social Entrepreneur Neelam Chhiber's Collective Supports Rural Artisans |

Neelam Chhiber purused Industrial Design from NID, Ahmedabad. For the past three decades, Neelam is working with Artists in Rural areas by providing design, technical, marketing and management solutions. Neelam has contributed to many solutions such as self-owned enterprises, mainstream value chains for economic security. Now Neelam is working on the Endeavour Mission which is expected to get completed by 2030. The main focus of this mission is to economically, and socially strengthen the resources produced by millions of workers.


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