Social entrepreneurship is increasingly becoming a tool to undertake social, cultural and environmental issues in communities where startup businesses and entrepreneurs develop fund or implement ideas aimed for the solution of these problems. Whether intentionally or otherwise, numerous startups and spin-offs, have in a way or another, provided services that address larger themes including, but not limited to, sustainability, public transportation and mobility which are also key components to smart cities.
Often led by youth, and through the employment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IoT), which have also become integral parts in smart cities thinking, social entrepreneurs are rapidly changing cities in ways city planners may never consider and thus becoming an under-recognised planning force to be reckoned with. On this note, this paper argues, a mobilisation for this force which aims to harnessing its potentials towards sustainable smart cities’ development is becoming an urgent need. Moreover, as social entrepreneurship heavily depends on social networking and social media, thus acquiring an immediate interaction with a larger group of the local community as opposed to traditional planning methods, this paper argues it may further the advancement of participative approaches that include the public in the decision-making and planning of their own cities.
Through showcasing social entrepreneurship endeavours that have successfully addressed smart cities dilemmas in the case of Amman, Jordan, this paper aims to further explore the links between the two concepts. Furthermore, considering the little literature available on both topics in non-western literature and developing countries context, and through looking at the non-traditional ways these projects addressed city planning problems, this paper bids to find ways to inform traditional city planners towards the achievement of smart cities goals.