Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Jackie Levering Sullivan

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Rights Information

© 2012 Maya D. Horgan


This essay argues that social entrepreneurship is the most efficient means to generate lasting social change and permanently reduce poverty. Using the support of scholarly research, interviews with experts in the field, and my own qualitative observations, I conclude that traditional aid models that are economically dependent on outside funding, as well as those that simply provide monetary and product contributions in order to sustain the poor or marginalized communities they serve are inherently structured in a way that prevents them from resolving social ills. Despite the influx of aid organizations over past decades, chronic poverty and other serious social problems persist, and have not been significantly impacted on a global scale. Traditional aid models merely treat the fundamental issues that perpetuate global poverty. Ironically, these methods of aid actually sustain the inherent problems. Social entrepreneurship is one of the only models that has successfully initiated wide scale social development through promoting the economic independence and self-sustainability of the communities influenced by their initiatives. It has proven to incorporate the necessary tactics that, if implemented internationally and on a wide scale, has the potential to permanently and significantly impact global poverty.