Challenges for Social Enterprises in Special Education

Challenges for Social Enterprises in Special Education

Neeta Baporikar (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia & University of Pune, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7859-8.ch011
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Social entrepreneurship is a rapidly growing discipline that is attracting the interest of governments, researchers, media, and organizations. Social enterprises have the ability to impact nations economically, environmentally, and socially by solving most pressing problems such as poverty, hunger, pollution, and education to name but a few through provision of their innovative products and services. So, in order for social enterprises including special schools to function effectively and efficiently, deliver innovative and quality services, and achieve their goals, they need sufficient sources and funding. Many researchers also cite that lack of funding is one of the greatest challenges and this is further aggravated due to lack of proper marketing of their services. Hence, adopting an exploratory research design and mixed method approach, the objective of this chapter is to apprehend the challenges of social enterprises in special education with a focus on schools, especially in emerging economies.
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Social entrepreneurship is a rapidly growing discipline that is attracting the interest of governments, researchers, media and organizations (Defourney & Nyssens, 2010; Stevens, Moray, & Bruneel, 2015). Social entrepreneurship is not only about making profit but also about changing the lives of people and transforming the world. Macro trends which the world faces be it poverty, education, inclusiveness is creating and forcing obvious shift towards economic and business activities being embedded within the social and environmental milieus (Urban, 2015). Traditional approach of separated view on economic vis-à-vis social value give rise to in a reality where financial returns are not resolved with social, environmental, cultural, and ethical impacts (Singh and Bodhanya, 2014; Urban and Kujinga, 2017).

Hence, social entrepreneurs and enterprises are essential to transform the society. Moros, because to bring desired transformation requires individuals with determination, who take advantage of opportunities in society. These individuals require outstanding leadership and innovative skills to solve societal problems. Entrepreneurial activities that embark on social entrepreneurship are called social enterprises. They differ from any other entrepreneurial organization in that their major goal or focus is on social value creation (Baporikar, 2016a; 2016c). Social enterprises have the ability to impact nations economically, environmentally and socially by solving most pressing problems such as poverty, hunger, pollution and education to name but a few through provision of their innovative products and services (Bugg-Levine, Kogut, & Kulatilaka, 2012; Smith, Cronley, & Barr, 2012). Social enterprises can take any form of ownership such as non-profit making, profit making, public, private or hybrid organizations (Hare, Jones, & Blackledge, 2007). Investing to achieve social outcomes is not a new phenomenon (Höchstädter and Scheck, 2015). The focus is to invest for creation of social and environmental impact. Since than impact investing has been growing in recognition, prominence and size (Partridge, 2013).Thus, impact investing also is another approach to meet the 21st century challenges as well as construct assessable and positive impact beyond financial returns (Höchstädter and Scheck, 2015).

Different types and forms of social enterprises exist world over. Namibia is no exception. However, the researcher’s focus is on public social enterprises that offer special needs education to children who are coming out of mainstream schools. Education is very important for all children regardless of their condition (Namibia Education Act, 2001). Hence, the researcher’s focus is on public schools, which offer special needs education. The researcher contends that special schools can be perceived as social institutions as they are firstly, non-profit making and secondly, have a social mission to reintegrate students with special needs back into society. Student with special needs are learners who are struggling intellectually or who have a physical disability. The learners undergo training and acquire practical skills that can help them get jobs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Entrepreneur: An entrepreneur who identifies practical solutions for social problems, one who exploits opportunities for social good by combining innovation, resourcefulness and opportunity. Individuals, who create enterprises to produce social value, act as the change agents, to improve systems or invent new approaches to create solutions to change society for the better.

Business model: A model that describes the rationale of how an organization creates delivers and captures value.

Inclusive: Including much or everything; and especially including stated limits; considered together or holistically.

Development: Means “steady progress” and stresses effective assisting in hastening a process or bringing about a desired end, a significant consequence or event, the act or process of growing, progressing, or developing.

Effectiveness: Implies the skillful use of resources or energy or industry to accomplish desired results with little waste of effort.

Funding: Giving of money to use to satisfy a particular need.

School Development Fund: The coalition of parents/guardians who have their children attending a particular school who come together to raise funds to supplement government funding.

Social Entrepreneurship: Social entrepreneurship is the process of pursuing innovative solutions to social problems.

Government: The organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it. It is a political system by which a body of people is administered and regulated.

Challenges: Something that by its nature or character serves as a call to make special effort, a demand to explain, justify, or difficulty in an undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.

Customer-Centric: Describes an organization that is operated from a customer’s point of view, rather than developing new products and attempting to convince consumers to purchase them. A customer-centric firm develops products and services their customers need.

Philanthropy: The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.

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