Characteristics of a Successful Social Entrepreneur

At Causeway, we’re always looking for that special combination of a great idea and the right people to make it happen for our community. I was recently asked to define an entrepreneur, and thought I’d elaborate on what our social entrepreneurship programs are looking for here at Causeway. Inspired by a variety of research, anecdotal evidence, and experience, we’ve adapted 4.0 Schools’ list to identify the following 8 characteristics we’re looking for in people:

Strategic Drive There are only 24 hours in a day. You know how to prioritize your most important tasks and keep your idea moving forward. You are willing to take risks on bold ideas even if you don’t know the end result. You consistently follow through on your promises.

Grit You are up for the difficult task of launching something new. Sleepless nights, limited resources and opposing viewpoints don’t phase you. You expect to encounter failure and you get back up when you’re knocked off your feet.

Can Iterate You can’t wait to learn through prototyping and testing your design. You can listen to the community you are serving and really hear what they are saying. You boldly seek their feedback, even if it means significant iteration or even going back to the drawing board.

Experience You may not have launched or led a project before, but you have a record of doing amazing things.

Passion for People You understand that you’re only as good as your team and the people around you. You are invested in not just being coached, but in coaching others. You share your lessons learned and are committed to not doing this project alone.

Coachable You recognize that you are not the only person with a solution to this problem and hold your project with an open hand to receive feedback from those who have experience and knowledge. You seek to receive feedback and input from your advisor and mentor during the incubation phase.

Values Diversity The way you live, work, play and learn brings you closer to people who are different than you. You challenge stereotypes and address assumptions made by people who hide from living in diversity. You embrace uncomfortable situations that bring you closer to people have a different life than you.

Commitment to Community You know that building relationships is quite possibly the most important factor in successfully launching a new project. You already have or are ready to build rapport within your community. You understand the role of your project in community, and community with your project.