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  • Author: A.H.J. (Bert) Helmsing x
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A.H.J. (Bert) Helmsing

The concept of social entrepreneurship and enterprise has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Its appeal extends over a broad ideological spectrum, and it embraces a range of activities, from solidarity economy to changes within the capitalist market economy. However, the growing popularity of social enterprise has not gone unchallenged. Some see it as the privatization of social choices that belong in the public and civic domain. This article asks: How is the social constituted in social entrepreneurship? After reviewing why social entrepreneurship has become an issue and exploring its various definitions, it argues that a dominant current in the social entrepreneurship literature glorifies the individual entrepreneur while underemphasizing the importance of social processes. Social enterprise is dependent on the social entrepreneur’s civic engagement in mobilizing support. This engagement is critical for the economic, social, and political sustainability of the social enterprise. For social entrepreneurship to enjoy success in a sustained manner, it must first and foremost be “social.”