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Social Entrepreneurship Literature Review

Literature Review on Social Entrepreneurship

When it comes to social entrepreneurship, there is much room for interpretation. Entrepreneurs who work in the social sector fall into two categories, each unique set of traits. Social entrepreneurs’ nonprofit sector management and skills focus on developing new ways to satisfy the current corporate, public, or nonprofit needs. Nonprofit organizations and their operations are often defined as “social entrepreneurship” in literature; nonetheless, individuals’ “entrepreneurial” characteristics are mentioned in this context. Due to their social mission, they are known as “one species in the genus Entrepreneur” by many. Recognizing and combating social issues through business ideas, methods, and practices is the goal of social enterprise. Organizing, establishing, and administering a social initiative to effect a desired change begins with a thorough study to identify a specific social need. An entire societal problem can be reduced or eliminated as part of the reform. They focus on the current situation, and making it better could be a lifelong endeavor.

In contrast to traditional business entrepreneurship, which involves starting a new company or expanding an existing one, social entrepreneurship is more concerned with building social capital than making a profit. However, this does not negate the necessity of producing a profit. To continue the process and make a beneficial impact on society, entrepreneurs require financial resources. Lack of finance is less of a barrier for social entrepreneurs than commercial entrepreneurs (2019). Their reach frequently outstrips their grasping skills. In other words, social entrepreneurs are more prone than the average person to desire control over their environment, be receptive to new ideas, and have a higher tolerance for ambiguity. Social and economic entrepreneurs alike share the ability to persuade and inspire others to fulfill their vision and potential. In recent years, “social entrepreneurship” has gained significant traction in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. The nonprofit sector is under increasing pressure to improve efficiency and sustainability as funding from traditional sources dwindles and competition for the few remaining resources intensifies (Mair, 2020). Corporate social responsibility is being emphasized, as are more aggressive solutions to complicated social problems, while governments at all levels grapple with an onslaught of funding requests.

It is becoming increasingly common for social entrepreneurs to use innovative approaches to tackle challenging problems. Nonprofit and for-profit organizations are blurred by socially entrepreneurial activities that focus on issue solving and social innovation rather than traditional business strategies. Collaboration across industries and the creation of fresh ideas to solve the old problems are encouraged by social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship has a great deal of natural appeal, and recent instances show how it works in various contexts. However, this is a new subject, and the study on social entrepreneurship is trailing behind the implementation. As social entrepreneurship grows in popularity, there is a growing expectation that it will develop and promote innovative, practical solutions to pressing social issues. This study’s first portion will examine the genesis and growth of social entrepreneurship. Afterward, we’ll talk about “social entrepreneurship” and its multiple meanings. The final half of this essay will address the characteristics and incentives of social entrepreneurship. Look at the distinction between activities that provide traditional social benefits and those that inspire creativity and invention during the problem-solving process, for example. It’s an entrepreneurial endeavor if the founder’s name is attached to the product or service. However, it is necessary to have an “actual enterprise” to generate a new product. They argue that several well-meaning community projects are not entrepreneurial in the traditional sense and do not generate fresh ideas. Self-starters and goal-oriented persons repeat previously effective strategies for the most thorough taxonomy of social entrepreneurship to date, which stresses two essential characteristics of socially entrepreneurial action. Profits made by businesses that benefit society are referred to as having a social effect or having social capital. Re-interpretation, or social entrepreneurship, can help NGOs reduce costs, diversify funding streams, and re-imagine their goals. If you run a charity that aids the elderly and infirm, Fowler offers an example of how serving the wealthy and otherwise healthy elderly might benefit your organization (Ratten, 2018).

The misunderstandings about social entrepreneurship stem from a lack of agreement on what constitutes an individual social entrepreneur. As a result, the attributes needed to succeed as a social entrepreneur will be quite different from those required to achieve in circumstances where social entrepreneurship focuses on innovation and creativity in developing new methods to address existing needs. For better or worse, in writing about the topic, the social components of social entrepreneurship typically take precedence over its entrepreneurial elements. Entrepreneurs are generally described as a single species within the genus by using “entrepreneurial species” (Hockerts, 2018). As a result, social entrepreneurs are distinct from economic entrepreneurs in their problem-solving approach. As self-starters and team players, these individuals provide collaborative leadership to bring various groups together to establish common ground and take joint action. For social entrepreneurs who can connect with others and share an inspiring vision, attracting and encouraging employees, partners, and volunteers is essential. As a social entrepreneur, you must learn to communicate with a wide range of people and get their support. Prabhu claims that social entrepreneurs are more likely than economic entrepreneurs to write letters of support. So-called social entrepreneurs have a unique ability to analyze, envision, explain, empathize, excite, advocate, mediate, enable and empower a varied spectrum of distinct persons and organizations.” So-called social entrepreneurs are trailblazers with appealing ideas, innovative problem-solving, and solid ethical fibers. They are “obsessed” with their vision for change. They are “totally consumed” with it. The issue of social sector training and capacity building supports social entrepreneurs.

The term’s definition influences people’s ability to learn social entrepreneurship skills. If social entrepreneurs are regarded as ‘exceptionally innovative and imaginative individuals,’ replication will be more challenging. Latent entrepreneurial talent can be developed for the more significant benefit by creating a supportive environment. The second scenario is more complicated than the first since it is easier to establish talents that aid individuals in turning thoughts into realized opportunities than to train them to discover the options themselves. Steyaert (2018), in his critique of stories about “special” leaders, says essentially nothing on how many of the traits he highlights may be more familiar to regular people than he believes. It’s hard to argue with Cannon’s assertion that most of us don’t have the necessary tools for social entrepreneurship when he argues that the vast majority of people do have these things. Training in leadership and management, educational scholarships and fellowships and mentorship programs, and twinning arrangements with other organizations throughout the country and around the world are all essential to help businesses transition from startup to long-term viability. If you’re coming from the commercial sector, you may have different capacity-building needs than if you’re coming from the nonprofit sector. In light of this, whether or not institutions support social entrepreneurship is debatable. Proponents of social change think that the only way to secure the success of entrepreneurship is to develop institutional support rather than depending on people. You might also consider an in-depth curriculum that focuses on the structure of an organization and social interactions.

Research and practice in social entrepreneurship are predicted to expand in significance in the coming years. Further discussion of project monitoring and assessment would be required. Public sector support and investment in monitoring and evaluation may be of tremendous advantage to organizations and individuals obligated to do so regularly. Best practice models and recommendations on implementing partnerships and collaborations are missing from the literature. However, socially entrepreneurial companies emphasize the importance of inter-sectoral teamwork as a framework. Research on inter-sectoral discourse may illuminate the inherent communication obstacles of establishing collaborative relationships between public and private sectors. Traditional assumptions and social mission work models and “new needs” and “developing ways” need to be examined in light of the new philanthropy emerging from the high-tech sector. In closing, it’s worth mentioning that much of the current study is theoretical (Dionisio, 2018). An academically dominated field would be fascinating to soon link practice-related issues to larger existing research bodies and conceptual and theoretical frameworks.

The notion of social entrepreneurship has emerged in the corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors in recent years, and this paper provides an overview of the existing literature in this field. Third sector organizations could be by the growing popularity of the concept of social entrepreneurship, but it could also be an opportunity to create new models of social enterprise. Social entrepreneurship is the only way to tackle social issues that are not being addressed by the state or the market. Alternative models for social enterprise can be established based on participatory and democratic governance processes that engage stakeholders and resources from all around society. A look at the circumstances in which social entrepreneurship emerged was the focus of the first section. Second, currently being used very widely to describe several social-change projects. Section 2 of the report. When it comes to solving pressing social issues, social entrepreneurs have a unique ability to bring innovative and long-lasting solutions that positively impact multiple levels. “How do they facilitate change in such a way that it empowers those involved and changes the performance capacity of the society. With an overview of existing definitions, a five-dimensional framework was created to describe the various aspects of social entrepreneurship (a syndromic model). The introduction of social change is central to the role of the social entrepreneur. So an overview of various theories of social transition was presented, starting with sociology and four sociological dilemmas, one of which asks if social change is endogenous or exogenous. These features and motivations were laid out in Section 3: “Social Entrepreneurs.” There are several pressing concerns in this fast-increasing field, such as creating supportive settings for social entrepreneurs, training and capacity building in socially entrepreneurial activities, and implementation issues. The final paragraphs of this section addressed several research gaps and opportunities in this topic.


Dey, P., & Steyaert, C. (Eds.). (2018). Social entrepreneurship: An affirmative critique. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Dionisio, M. (2018). The evolution of social entrepreneurship research: a bibliometric analysis. Social enterprise journal.

Hockerts, K. (2018). The effect of experiential social entrepreneurship education on intention formation in students. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 9(3), 234-256.

Mair, J. (2020). 14. Social Entrepreneurship: Research as Disciplined Exploration. In The Nonprofit Sector (pp. 333-357). Stanford University Press.

Naderi, A., Vosta, L. N., Ebrahimi, A., & Jalilvand, M. R. (2019). The contributions of social entrepreneurship and transformational leadership to performance: Insights from rural tourism in Iran. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.

Ratten, V. (2018). Social entrepreneurship through digital communication in farming. World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, and Sustainable Development.


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