The emergence of social entrepreneurship in Russia has historical roots and is a new approach to solving social problems. The article presents an analysis of the prerequisites for the formation of a new category in social life. Social entrepreneurship can be safely attributed to the socially responsible activities of small and medium-sized businesses aimed at solving social problems. In modern Russia the number of social entrepreneurs who started their activities initially as a subject of social entrepreneurship is little. Commercial enterprises often become social. In Russia the problem of social entrepreneurship is not theoretically understood. At the moment there is a lack of research on social entrepreneurship. In Russia the development of the concept of social entrepreneurship is formed on the basis of practice which undoubtedly causes difficulties. Social entrepreneurship is represented primarily in the areas of health, education and social services. However, the field of social entrepreneurship can include the solution of many problems affecting society. The practice of social entrepreneurship in Russia faces a number of problems such as the definition of the organizational and legal form of the enterprise, the presence of the current legislative framework regarding the phenomenon, the lack of state programs that stimulate social entrepreneurs to introduce innovations in the social sphere.