NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tackling social problems including climate change and poverty takes more than throwing money at the problem. Social entrepreneurs must attack it from the inside, said Sally Osberg, co-author of Getting Beyond Better.
"Social entrepreneurs attack problems where there is a disadvantaged segment of the population that lacks the power of the means to bring about the change that would make their lives better," said Osberg, who is also CEO of the Skoll Foundation, which sponsors social entrepreneurship.
Osberg uses the example of Riders for Health to illustrate how social entrepreneurship differs from other methods of aid. Riders for Health was founded by Andrea and Barry Coleman, who drew on their passions for desert motorcycling to start the organization that makes reliable transportation and vehicle maintenance an integral part of Africa's health systems.
"They knew what it took to equip people with transportation that would be 100% reliable, and to deliver health care effectively you need that reliability," said Osberg. "They went to work and they are now partnering with ministries in five sub-Saharan African countries to build their health delivery transportation system."
Riders for Health differs from microfinance because the project is more about a social than a monetary return. Although she said occasionally a social entrepreneur can turn a profit as well. Most importantly, Riders for Health is a solution that can be scaled and transferred to tackle similar problems elsewhere.
"The last stage for a successful social entrepreneur is scaling the solution so it can work in Africa, India, or Latin America," said Osberg. "It can work anywhere where you need a delivery system that is 100% reliable."
In terms of getting these projects accomplished, Osberg said the key is not just for the social entrepreneurs to do all the work, but getting the stakeholders deeply involved as well.
"It's the folks who are disempowered by the existing system who will ultimately sustain these efforts," said Osberg.