Business Ideas for Social Entrepreneurs

Social Entrepreneurship is all about people developing, financing, and implementing solutions to issues revolving around social, cultural, and enviromental problems.

This is an emerging market, and getting in early can reap great benifits down the road, so check out our curated list to figure out which idea is best for you. 

In this article, we have outlined our top Business Ideas for Social Entreprenuers. Social Entrepreneurship Business Ideas are perfect for those with a desire to start something that solves social, cultural, and enviromental issues within communities while still making money. 

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There are lots of businesses for the budding social entreprenuer, but we have created a list of some of our favorites. We are sure one of them is bound to inspire you.

We’ve broken down our top Social Entrepreneurship ideas into several categories:

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Social Entrepreneurship Education Ideas

1. ESL School

E S L School Image

A person who is passionate about education and loves languages makes a great ESL instructor, but a successful owner of an ESL school needs to also possess the skillset required to run a business. In addition, an owner needs to have the desire to work with individuals from a wide range of cultural and sociological backgrounds. Being able to keep a flexible schedule is a must.

Most ESL schools have multiple pricing tiers based on the number of students in a class, the level of instruction, or the time when the students attend classes. Experts predict revenues for educational services will grow 2.4% over the next five years. An English language school that keeps tight control of its expenses can expect to see a good return.

Learn how to start an ESL school.

2. Special Needs Coaching Business

Special Needs Coaching Business Image

Special Needs Coaching is a very challenging, yet rewarding career. This business pursuit is best suited for the individual who enjoys working with children, helping them gain confidence and happiness through positive motivation, as they work to reach their full potential.

The average profit realized for this industry is $59,100. Each additional coach that represents the business will contribute to an increase in annual profit. Special Needs Coaches can increase annual profits by offering online coaching meetings or through guest spots at speaking conventions.

Learn how to start a special needs coaching business.

3. Bookmobile

A large bus with Bookmobile printed on the side.

Bookmobiles offer a unique opportunity for the public to access reading materials. Since librarian Mary Titcomb launched the first bookmobile at the turn of the 20th century, these small businesses have served the reading needs of the public in both rural and urban areas.

Whether operating as a for-profit business selling books to customers or a public service offered by some libraries, bookmobiles bring entertainment and education to those who may not otherwise have access to books.

Learn how to start a bookmobile business.

4. Home Tutoring Business

Home Tutoring Business Image

This business is ideal for current and former teachers, which is why many teachers begin their home tutoring business as a part-time job. You must be a people person, as most of the business regards direct, one-on-one interaction with others. It helps to be good with children of all ages, as they comprise the vast majority of your customers.

The profit for a home tutoring business is entirely dependent on your hourly rate and the number of students you have at any given time. It is important to be mindful of the season: summer typically has much fewer students than other seasons because your primary clients—students--are mostly out of school. When budgeting profits for the year, it is important to remember that.

Learn how to start a home tutoring business.


Health Coaching Business Image

While a nutritionist is primarily concerned with fine-tuning diet, a health coach considers every facet of a client’s lifestyle to develop a diet, exercise, and general wellness regimen. Though some health coaches may emphasize an area of expertise, the baseline requirement for being a successful health coach is having a deep understanding of good health habits and exercise. This is a business type that generally has a low barrier to entry.

Additionally, the cost of a health coaching business can be very low. Typically, health coaches go directly to their clients’ home or workspace, cutting out the need for an office or a lot of overhead. In addition to the low costs, experienced health coaches can bring in big earnings, with some charging more than $500 per hour for their services.

Learn how to .


Pair of hands brushing a large amount of orange paint onto a canvas

If you love art and enjoy meeting and working with people, an art lessons business can be a fun and rewarding pursuit. You will need to create structured lessons so your students have a path to follow as they learn an artistic skill.

You don’t need much to start an art lessons business. You can provide your own tools (brushes, pencils, paper) or you can require your students to supply their own. This is a great business for young people because it can be started for free right out of your home. You may even be able to reserve space at your school or library at no cost. Your hourly rates will vary based on your skill level and the nature of your lessons, but most can charge at least $25/hr, making this a great way to start earning and saving money.

Learn how to .

Environmentally Sustainable Ideas

7. Reusable Grocery Bags

Two people carry eco friendly bags.

A reusable grocery bag business looks to supply durable and decorative grocery bags, designed for multiple uses, to help reduce the reliance on plastic grocery bags. As more consumers decide to ditch the plastic bags, options for reusable shopping bags will become more and more popular.

Some stores already require customers to bring their own bags with them for their shopping experiences. Reusable grocery bags are a great example of eco-friendly products that helps make consumers lives easier and less wasteful.

Learn how to start a reusable grocery bag business.

8. Responsible Landscaping Business

Man Planting Flowers In Garden

Responsible landscaping businesses are looking to integrate green solutions into the traditional business model of the landscaping industry. In addition to supplying management and beautification to trees, shrubs, flowers, turf, and mulch, green wise businesses look for ecologically sensitive options for plants, pesticides, fertilizers, and other landscaping supplies.

Learn how to start a responsible landscaping business.

9. Green Beauty Product Business

A Woman getting face mask.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reports that there are over nine hundred toxins and chemicals in today’s standard cosmetics and skincare products. As we learn more and more about what these chemicals do to our bodies and our environment, many consumers are turning to natural products. Green beauty product business owners offer innovations in beauty care, producing and selling it to the public.

Learn how to start a green beauty products business.

10. Carbon Offsetting Business

Two people looking over a Solar Panel

Carbon offsetting is the practice of purchasing carbon credits for carbon dioxide emissions which, in turn, help fund projects to reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. This practice works to reduce the carbon emissions and carbon footprints of businesses and organizations.

In essence, a business “buys out” their carbon emissions by paying a fee, which goes to fund programs and initiatives that work to support renewable energy plans and methods or ways to capture harmful greenhouse gasses, such as methane.

Learn how to start a carbon offsetting business.

11. Energy Consulting Company

Person Pointing at a graph

Projects for energy consulting companies on a smaller scale include conducting an energy audit of a single-family home. Larger commercial projects include making recommendations for large data centers that use massive amounts of electricity, government organizations with many public buildings, and major national companies with multiple locations.

Energy consulting companies provide energy audit reports to their clients that make specific recommendations for energy conservation and improved efficiency. They also provide information to clients about possible tax incentives for investing in alternative energy systems. Some companies in this sector sell, install, and maintain equipment such as solar panels, wind farms, geothermal systems, and bioenergy projects.

Learn how to start an energy consulting business.

12. Green Cleaning Products Business

Woman Holding A Variety Of Green Cleaning Products

As we learn more and more about the chemicals in standard household cleaners and their impact on the environment, consumer demand for green cleaning products has risen. A green cleaning products business produces and sells eco-friendly cleaning supplies, offering individuals and businesses a safe alternative for cleaning their homes and offices.

Learn how to start a green cleaning products business.

13. Insect Farm

Women Staring At Butterfly

An insect farm, which can be managed on both a small and large scale, is a farm that breeds and raises insects. The commodities these insects produce can be used to make everything from candles to silk. Additionally, insect farmers sell their “product” as farm feed, for human consumption, as pollinators, and as natural pesticides.

Learn how to start an insect farm business.

Culture Based Ideas


Image of calendar with colorful pins in it

Event planners help people organize and host special occasions like weddings, parties, anniversaries, or professional soirees. An event planning business coordinates with clients to make sure the location, food, music, decorations, ceremony, and general atmosphere match or even exceed their expectations.

You don’t need a degree to be a successful event planner, but you will need to have excellent communication and organizational skills. Experience in customer service or the hospitality industry is also beneficial.

Learn how to start an event planning business.


Image of map, airline ticket, and latte with airplane-shaped latte art

Though travel agencies are not as popular as they once were, they still offer a valuable service to those who love to travel but hate planning trips. A travel agency researches locales, accommodations, and flight packages. They can also offer special discount rates for frequent travelers.

A passion for travel and excellent organizational skills are a must for travel agency owners. You do not need to be certified to be a travel agent, but there are several certification programs that can give you the knowledge to provide your customers with high-quality service.

Learn how to start a travel agency business.


A tablet being held with the Etsy application loaded

If you love making handmade goods or scoping out unique vintage items in your free time, you may enjoy running an Etsy business. This is an excellent outlet for young artists looking to sell their work or anyone who’s passionate about producing and selling well-crafted goods. Sellers must have the skills required to find or create the products they sell, basic computer skills, and experience with marketing and/or advertising to help promote their products.

These basic skills plus a strong entrepreneurial spirit can convert your hobby into a lucrative business opportunity. While you’ll likely start small, this is a business you can cultivate over time and shape to fit your schedule through school and beyond. Serious sellers are bringing in six figures, so this is a great opportunity to start a business that can grow with you.

Learn how to start an Etsy store.


Image of food truck with a sign that reads "Grandpa's Tacos"

A food truck prepares and sells meals from a vehicle equipped with a small kitchen and food storage containers. In many cities, food trucks are an extremely popular way to grab a fast, cheap meal on the go. They are also ideal for business owners, because they offer profits that are on par with a small restaurant or cafe, without the extra overhead of owning or renting a building.

A food truck owner must have some culinary knowledge, and should also have a passion for providing quality customer service. Though prior experience in the foodservice industry is not a necessity, it is a great way to jumpstart a successful food truck business.

Learn how to start a food truck business.


Person wearing Asian conical hat looking out over field of trees

Tour companies offer guided tours through cities with plenty of historical significance, interesting architecture, unique charm, or exciting nightlife. These tours can be conducted on foot, by bicycle, or by vehicle. Ideally, a tour guide or tour company owner will have extensive knowledge of their city and understand how to keep an audience entertained. Above all else, you will need to be a people person.

The startup costs for a tour company are generally quite low, especially if you are willing to start out working from home. However, costs will rise if you wish to open a location in the city or purchase and maintain transportation for your tours. Growing too quickly can actually hurt your business in the long-run, as unbooked tours will eat into your profits. Nonetheless, with low overhead, a sound marketing strategy, and a competitive pricing model, your earning potential can be quite high.

Learn how to start a tour company.


Man giving speech to crowd in auditorium

Public speaking instruction classes help develop speaking skills and confidence for speeches, presentations, meetings, or any situation that requires verbal communication. These can be one-on-one classes or larger group sessions.

Needless to say, an extroverted entrepreneur could make an excellent public speaking instructor. These small business owners should be an excellent communicator and have experience speaking in front of groups of people.

Learn how to start a public speaking instruction business.

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Sustianable Farming Businesses

20. Community Garden

A Community Garden with Planters

A community garden is an area of land on which members of the community can grow and harvest plants. Today’s community garden businesses rent out small, pre-specified portions of the garden to interested parties. Gardeners can plant flowers, crops, and similar plants. 

A lot of community gardens are watched by volunteer employees. Many have dedicated members, too. Because a community garden is a “group effort,” they often have in-depth membership criteria while offering a variety of membership options.

Any individual who enjoys gardening, running a garden, planting or harvesting crops is perfect for a community garden. Individuals who live in urban areas, too, are a good fit. Because community gardens can exist in urban or rural areas, those who thrive in crowded areas may find a home in a community garden. A successful community garden owner loves exploring the many variations of seeds, plants, and gardening options. Additionally, community garden owners can become part of The American Community Garden Association.

Learn how to start a community garden business.

21. Botanical Garden

A lone path with lush plants and trees on each side.

A botanical garden typically refers to an outdoor space where different species of plant life are grown and cultivated. The land may be used for research, conservation, public beautification, or some combination thereof. Botanical gardens may also build a greenhouse space where growing conditions can be controlled year-round.

The ideal owner will have a passion for botany. Whether they’re growing plants for scientific research or to share with the community, they should understand how new species and hybrids can fulfill the overall mission of their organization.

Learn how to start a botanical garden business.

22. Mushroom Farm

A Group of Mushrooms on a log

Mushroom farm businesses specialize in growing mushrooms. These mushrooms are used by customers for either medicinal or culinary purposes, depending on the type of mushroom grown. Additionally, they may be sold wholesale to clients or at retail prices.

Anyone who enjoys working with their hands and interacting with people may be well-suited for running a mushroom farm business. Growing mushrooms is a hands-on task, and having an ability to connect with people can help business owners share their product with potential customers.

Learn how to start a mushroom farm business.

23. Greenhouse Business

Large Glass Greenhouse Full of Baby Plants

Homeowners, business owners, and even some apartment tenants shop at greenhouses. These businesses typically sells plants, flowers, vegetables, seeds and items related to gardening/landscaping.

If you have a “green thumb”, this is the ideal business. You should have an in-depth knowledge of flowers, plants, vegetables, seeds, and gardening equipment. Furthermore, you should have a passion for cultivating everything green. The best greenhouse business owners understand the intricacies of growing plants, flowers, produce, and just about everything else that comes out of the ground.

Learn how to start a greenhouse business.

24. Hydroponic Farm

A large row of baby plants in pots.

A hydroponic farm business grows and sells plants, vegetables, grass, and other forms of greenery to businesses and individuals. Examples of such businesses include grocery stores and restaurants. The twist to this style of business is water solvent is used to grow the plants rather than soil.

Hydroponic farm businesses are usually located indoors. In many instances, these indoor environments are greenhouses.

This business is an excellent way to give back to the community. Hydroponic farm business owners provide people with high-quality, nutritious, and tasty produce. These businesses also grow lovely flowers and other forms of greenery that beautify the local community. Furthermore, hydroponic farm businesses benefit the local environment as they are environmentally-friendly compared to conventional methods of farming.

Learn how to start a hydroponic farm business.

25. Pumpkin Farm

A large group of orange pumpkins

Also called a pumpkin patch, a pumpkin farm is a place to harvest pumpkins. Pumpkins are priced by weight, and a lot of pumpkin farms sell other seasonal products like corn, apples, and Halloween decorations. Other pumpkin patches offer entertainment, like corn mazes and hayrides.

The pumpkin farm business is great for farmers, Halloween-lovers, and those with a “green thumb.” If you like planting and selling crops, a pumpkin patch is a great business to own. Owners should be people-oriented, and they should love bargaining. A good pumpkin patch owner will also have a love for Jack-O-Lanterns and everything else Halloween-oriented.

Learn how to start a pumpkin farm business.

26. Herb Farm

A small group of lush herbs

In 2016, for the first time, Americans spent more money eating out than on groceries. During the same year, we paid more than a staggering 110 billion dollars for food in this country. Whether we are cooking at home or going out to eat, it is clear we love to eat and we are willing to pay for it.

Entrepreneurs who are interested in farming can earn a good living by supplying fresh culinary herbs to restaurants, retail stores, and directly to consumers.

Starting an herb farm is a great business for anyone who is interested in farming. One of the great things about herb farming is owners do not need acres and acres of land or even operate their herb farm full-time to be profitable. A small herb farm makes a wonderful part-time business for stay-at-home persons, a retired couple, or even a dedicated high-school student.

Learn how to start an herb farm business.

Other Sustainable Businesses

27. Packaging Design Business

A large number of cardboard objects that all fit together.

A packaging design business enhances packages with visual graphics while also designing existing product packages. A package design business, ultimately, protects products for sale, transportation, distribution, storage, and use. A package’s design includes both its structural and aesthetic design.

Ideally, a package design will be enhanced by graphics. In most cases, a package’s design is product-centric. From all angles, a package exists to serve the product.

The package design business is great for creative individuals. Products need both physical protection and visual representation, and a package can do both. A successful package design business owner will have a good perspective for branding, packaging, and forward-thinking designs.

Learn how to start a packaging design business.

28. Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Marijunana in a Medical Container

Medical marijuana dispensaries legally purchase marijuana from vendors and sell it to physician-approved patients. Dispensaries have a physician on the board of directors to ensure that patient treatment adheres to standard accepted practices. 

They also have highly trained staff who are continually educated about the many different strains and forms of cannabis and their medicinal purposes. Those forms include vapor, tinctures, balms, oils, juices, and edibles. A medical marijuana dispensary provides patients with an alternative to pain-killers and other drugs that can have harmful side effects when used long-term.

This business is ideal for people who are passionate about alternative medicine and have a strong desire to help others. Those who have worked in the medical field are often drawn to this business since the goal is to alleviate the severity of symptoms associated with many medical conditions that adversely affect quality of life.

Learn how to start a medical marijuana dispensary.

29. Organic Hygiene Product Business

Organic Soap on a table.

These days people are living healthier lives. Most of us are trying to eat better, reduce waste, recycle more and use natural products. An organic hygiene products business is perfectly positioned to provide people with all-natural soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, and feminine hygiene products.

Most successful organic hygiene products business are run by people passionate about the products they sell and who are actively involved in a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. There is no room for phonies in this business since your customers will be quick to identify unwholesome ingredients that may have found their way into your product line. An organic hygiene product business demands a full-time schedule, so owners need to have a deep dedication to this green business even if it is only a secondary source of income.

Learn how to start an organic hygiene business.

30. Irrigation Business

A Large Irrigation System On A Farm

Plenty of everyday people and businesses require irrigation systems. From homeowners to farmers, public properties, athletic fields, and beyond, there is no shortage of customers who need top-notch watering systems. Those who reside in particularly arid areas that receive minimal rain require year-round irrigation.

This is the perfect business for someone who is familiar with the intricacies of lawn treatment, landscaping, farming, athletic field maintenance, and other green spaces. Individuals who have experience maintaining green spaces and other areas with grass, trees, shrubs and/or crops will likely thrive in the irrigation business.

Learn how to start an irrigation business.

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