Each year Forbes Magazine publishes the Forbes 400— a list of the 400 richest people in America. The list is inspiring because it demonstrates how hard work and ingenuity combined with the world’s greatest democracy can lead to the betterment of all Americans. The list provides a social purpose by encouraging similar actions by other private sector entrepreneurs.
Forbes could be equally effective by publishing the names of the 400 leading social entrepreneurs in America. A social entrepreneur uses the same tools used by private sector entrepreneurs to start a business enterprise but applies them to the delivery of goods and services to the American public by governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Private sector entrepreneurs keep score in bank books; social entrepreneurs keep score in history books.
Many individuals are driven by the need for recognition be it pecuniary or non-pecuniary. A Forbes 400 list of social entrepreneurs would encourage some of our most talented millennials to devote their energies to some of the most pressing problems of our time which are not being addressed by private sector entrepreneurs including national defense policy, the ballooning national debt and the lack of retirement savings for most Americans.
An excellent example of a social entrepreneur is Leon Billings. Mr. Billings was the primary force behind most of the federal environmental legislation the 1970’s which lead to America becoming the global leader in the protection of the environment.
The Forbes 400 List of Social Entrepreneurs would be fashioned after its 400 List of the nation’s wealthiest individuals meaning that the analysis would not search for 400 new individuals each year but instead new names would be added as their accomplishments outweigh those of individuals currently on the list.