This Gotta-Have-It Quality Drives Social Entrepreneurs

It takes a special kind of person to want to change the world for the better, or at least so it seems from the outside. You've got to have a vision and a really big heart, right? Actually, you'll need a bit more than that — but your constituents will be better for it.

Social entrepreneurs want to improve society and the environment through business practices. Think of any product with a "buy one, give one" sales model, in which every sale prompts an in-kind donation to a vulnerable community. The basic drive to help people seems like a prerequisite; researchers say that won't get you very far without confidence.

A team at Anglia Ruskin University has undertaken the first study of how socially entrepreneurial people take action on their empathy. According to a press release, "while not all kind-hearted individuals consider the idea of becoming a social entrepreneur attractive, those that do are the ones who feel confident of making a difference, and who feel valued in their interactions with potential beneficiaries." The researchers also surveyed study participants on "perspective-taking, empathic concern, social entrepreneurial self-efficacy, social worth, and their social entrepreneurial intentions."

Support networks, in other words, that nurture self-confidence can make all the difference for the people trying to make a difference. This can also apply more broadly to millennials, a famously caring and involved generation that prefers meaningful work in whatever form we can get it. So if you're in a position to help someone, living by "Be excellent to each other" can serve all of us down the line.