A widget unveiled by the Skoll Foundation's Social Edge today lets anyone search and add a real-time list of social entrepreneurs to their Web pages. The goal is to provide an exchange and transfer of information so as to avoid duplication in the "do-good" sector. "We want to help people find others in their field, specializing in their issue, or working in their geographical region so that they may learn from other business models, find new ways to collaborate and build coalitions for change," SE's announcement said.
The Social Entrepreneur API (application programming interface) is the first open database of information about social entrepreneurs who have won fellowships and awards from social enterprise funders. "It lets philanthropists, investors, press, and fellow entrepreneurs find leading social innovators based on keyword, location, cause area, population service and other factors," according to Social Actions, which convened the collaborating group and catalyzed the project with seed funding provided with a grant from the Peery Foundation.
The database was created by funders who have come together to pool their information on the social entrepreneurs they've vetted. Emerging social entrepreneurs can use it to find others in the field and vetted social entrepreneurs can benefit from increased exposure to themselves and their work.
Joining the Skoll Foundation in the effort are Social Actions, Civic Ventures (sponsor of The Purpose Prize), PopTech, The Draper Richards Foundation, and The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
What do you think? Will this help to make the fledgling social enterprise sector less fragmented and more collaborative? How good is the potential for this to exclude more people than it promotes?
(Illustration by Miroslaw Pieprzyk)