Physician Social Entrepreneurship

Physician Social Entrepreneurship

Physician Social Entrepreneurship

Physician entrepreneurs are medical professionals who pursue opportunities under conditions of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity with the goal of creating stakeholder defined value through the deployment of innovation using a VAST business model.

Some physician entrepreneurs do that by starting a company, running a practice or being an employed intrapreneur. Others do it by creating a non-profit enterprise to improve the human condition, like helping to solve food insecurity, homelessness or disparate global health outcomes. There is certainly no shortage of problems to solve. The UN has a few suggestions.

Should you decide to go down the road of social entrepreneurship, there are several things you should keep in mind:

1. Be sure you have a compelling value proposition that differentiates you from all the rest trying to solve the same problem or doing it in a way that no one else is doing.

2. Start with the "why", not the what and the how.

3. Be sure you have a mission-driven business model canvas with valid assumptions.

4. Build a strong community.

5. Celebrate the beneficiaries, members, funders and donors, not your organization.

6. Excel at branding, marketing and telling your story that speaks to the heart, not the head. Here is how to create a brilliant LinkedIn profile as a social entrepreneur.

7. Make it personal but don't take it personally.

8. Have a robust IT infrastructure that will support your CRM, communications, membership and fundraising efforts.

9. Stay lean.

10. Here's how to build a 30,000 member LinkedIn group.

11. Non-profit does not mean no profit. Run it like any other business.

12. Focus on outcomes and impact and key results.

13. Pick the right IRS defined non-profit organizational entity.

14. Pick the right members for your board and clarify expectations. 

15. Build lasting partnerships and collaborations.

Here is what happens when one non-profit collides with another.

Physician social entrepreneurs are making a difference around the world, particularly during turbulent times. You can too.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD and Facebook. 

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  • Kyle Armstrong

    Special thanks to all doctors who are trying to find solutions for us

  • Ryan Lawson

    Perfect time to become a physician entrepreneur

  • David Brown

    We can all make a difference

  • Luke Dean

    Medical education will change !

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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