Today, "social entrepreneurship" describes a host of new initiatives, and often refers to approaches that are breaking from traditional philanthropic and charitable organizational behavior. Nowhere is this more true than in the United States—where, from 1995–2005, the number of non-profit organizations registered with the IRS grew by 53%. But, what types of change have these social entrepreneurial efforts brought to the world of civil society and philanthropy? What works in today's environment? And, what barriers are these new efforts breaking down as they endeavor to make the world a better place?
The Real Problem Solvers brings together leading entrepreneurs, funders, investors, thinkers, and champions in the field to answer these questions from their own, first-person perspectives. Contributors include marquee figures, such as Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Ashoka Founder Bill Drayton, Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder of the Acumen Fund, and Sally Osberg, CEO of the Skoll Foundation. The core chapters are anchored by an introduction, a conclusion, and question-and-answers sections that weave together the voices of various contributors. In no other book are so many leaders presented side-by-side. Therefore, this is the ideal accessible and personal introduction for students of and newcomers to social entrepreneurship.
About the author
Ruth A. Shapiro is the Principal of Keyi Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in creating broader networks, understanding, and business ventures between individuals and companies in Asia, Europe, and the United States. She is Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the Commonwealth Club of California. Shapiro was the founder of the Asia Business Council where she is now Senior Advisor.
"The Real Problem Solvers provides singular insight into the aspirations, challenges, and opportunities of those who are at the front of the social entrepreneurial movement. This is a must-read for the leaders in organizations that seek societal impact at the 'blurred edge' between the non-profit and for-profit worlds."
—Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company
"In this treasure chest of a book, Ruth Shapiro deftly presents and weaves together perspectives from leading thinkers and practitioners in social entrepreneurship. By engaging them in conversations and offering her own well-grounded insights, she deeply enriches our understanding of this important and evolving field."
—Professor J. Gregory Dees, Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Duke University
"A wonderful introduction to social entrepreneurship in the United States and the growing ecosystem of organizations committed to supporting it. Ruth Shapiro frames this book with an engaging and insightful account of the critical influences that have spurred social entrepreneurs to take on some of our society's most challenging problems. Regardless of the problems that these pragmatic visionaries seek to address, this book shows that their magic lies in combining innovation, resourcefulness, and opportunity—with an unwillingness to give into setbacks."
—Pamela Hartigan, Director, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, The University of Oxford
"In the past ten years, a rich ecosystem has developed around the idea, energy, and success of social entrepreneurs. With years of experience, Ruth Shapiro captures the complexity and complementarity of the men and women whose innovation and drive are changing the way we solve social problems and should be required reading for all."
—Bill Draper, Co-Chair of the Draper, Richards, Kaplan Foundation, General Partner, Draper Richards LLC, and author of The Start-up Game
"Good leaders inspire, motivate, and create alliances toward attaining lofty goals. This book is full of such people and their stories. A worthwhile read indeed!"
—Henry R. Kravis, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts
"Ingenuity, initiative, and determination are valued traits in any enterprise. Social entrepreneurs apply these talents to solving difficult social problems. This book showcases a number of these commendable people and inspires the reader to think deeply about his or her own contributions to society."
—George P. Shultz, Former US Secretary of State
"The term social entrepreneur has become common parlance, but there is little consensus on what it really means. This important book provides us with a clear conception of social entrepreneurship and the nuanced thinking of key leaders. The breadth and depth of the field are captured in one enjoyable and provocative read."
—Melissa Berman, President and CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors
"This book is an exhilarating read because of the people and ideas that it illuminates. There are real compelling, proven, and daring ideas here that the rest of us would be wise to embrace."
—Trabian Shorters, Vice President of Communities, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation