Faith-Based Social Enterprise and Value Creation in Communities

Faith-Based Social Enterprise and Value Creation in Communities

Charles Oham (University of Greenwich, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6298-6.ch006


This chapter explores the value creation activities of faith-based social enterprises (FBSE) in the economy. It discusses the challenges being faced by faith-based organizations (FBOs) from which FBSEs emerge. It makes the case for a coherent strategy in terms of a closer engagement of government with FBSEs that could scale up social impact and create systemic change. An account of FBSEs as a catalyst for value creation through economic and community development is presented using examples and case studies. It posits that a more precise engagement with this sector should be adopted to bring critical mass to society.
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Over 748 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, while 1.2 billion people lack electricity, 80% of the adult population in Africa do not have access to financial services, and two thirds of the disease burden is caused by communicable diseases (Innovative Finance in Africa, 2016). Societal challenges like the one listed have been affecting mankind at an increasing rate and the gap between rich and poor in developed and developing countries continues to widen as inclusive growth becomes a challenge in many countries (Azmat et al. 2015). For example, the United Kingdom is ranked in the top ten of wealthiest countries; however, it significantly experiences income inequality and social deprivation. Up and down the country there are pockets of poverty and deprivation with evidence of its negative impact on communities (IFS, 2017). The only difference between the developed and developing economies in relation to poverty and inequality is that most developed nations provide a safety net for the poor in the form of social welfare benefits.

Despite these statistics, hope is not lost as social entrepreneurs are fighting back by taking control of the situation through the introduction of socially innovative products, services and processes that can alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life (see case study on First Fruit Group). The situation could have been far worse without social enterprises and not for profit organisations working in this field to address the challenges in the community. Social enterprises are defined as businesses primarily set up for a social purpose whose profits are ploughed back to further the organisation's objectives (Burns, 2011). With FBSE’s the social objective also serves as a spiritual objective because their spiritual values are compatible with social enterprise ethos (Oham, 2013). The role of the social entrepreneur includes, adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (value creation), recognising and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission, engaging in the process of continuous innovation, adaptation and learning; acting boldly without being limited by resources in hand and transparent accountability to stakeholders (Dees, 2001).The definition accommodates all forms of social ventures given the debate in some circles on trading activity as a must for a business to qualify as a social enterprise. It is advocated that organisations that are not for profits and working towards generating earned income should be classified as a social enterprise because social entrepreneurship can be evolutionary due to external pressures of resourcing and funding to cover cost (Boschee, 2006. Oham, et al. 2009). Therefore, many social enterprises do not start out as such, however, over the years transitioned into social enterprises from not for profit organisations such as charities and voluntary organisations.

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