Boundaries and Challenges for Social Entrepreneurship

Boundaries and Challenges for Social Entrepreneurship

Neeta Baporikar (HP-GSB, Namibia & University of Pune, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8748-6.ch001
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Social and economic progress is inextricably intertwined. Charity and aid can improve the quality of life and the life chances of the poor by subsidizing interventions education and health care and increasing access to clean water and so forth. However, these interventions may not alleviate poverty in a sustained way unless increased economic participation and empowerment for the poor is ensured. Existing large corporations could support the economic engagement of the poor for the betterment of society. If there is an arena in which boundaries need to be defined and challenges understood well, it is social entrepreneurship, so that social enterprises and social entrepreneurs will be able to achieve their goals and objectives in a coherent and meaningful manner. The thrust of this chapter is to understand social entrepreneurship, its differentiators and its boundaries along with the challenges faced by social entrepreneurs. Based on content analysis, in-depth literature review and published reports, the chapter findings relate to the strategies which need to be adopted to overcome the challenges. It is also hoped that the global examples would serve as role models for future entrepreneurs.
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With the emergence of this range of innovative activity, the concept of social entrepreneurship has taken on multiple and varied meanings in popular discourse, as well as in academic literature. The concept of social entrepreneurship has its roots in the broader field of entrepreneurship and draws on the definition of entrepreneurship as “the pursuit of opportunity beyond the tangible resources that you currently control” (Stevenson, 1983). In this definition, a key focus is on how various individuals and groups identify and commit to an opportunity, how the entrepreneurial organization gains access and functional control over a network of resources that are not within its hierarchical control, and the way in which participants are rewarded (Stevenson, 1985). The entrepreneurial organization focuses on opportunity, not resources. Entrepreneurs must commit quickly but cautiously so as to be able to readjust as new information arises. The process of commitment becomes multistage with minimal commitment of resources at each stage to allow for learning from experience and new knowledge before more resources are sought.

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