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Social Entrepreneurship

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"This guide is written for social entrepreneurs who want to maximise their positive impact and want a practical approach to help them do that. By impact we mean creating changes in people’s lives. You could be already running a social enterprise or on the way to setting one up."

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"In this Shell Foundation report, we share the findings from our work with leading social enterprises to build sustainable rural value chains in the off-grid energy sector over the last two decades. This report focuses on the question: can we improve the economics of social enterprises serving last mile customers to the point where they can secure sufficient investment to serve billions, not millions, of people who live on $2 to $10 a day?"

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"This report highlights how traditional debt and equity financing structures often fail to adequately meet the needs of early-stage impact enterprises. It examines the pain points for both investors and entrepreneurs around traditional structures and the need for innovative instruments, provides examples of emerging and proven models, from revenue-based mezzanine debt to self-liquidating equity, and offers suggestions for concrete steps to advance the adoption of alternative structures to foster impact enterprises. 16 case studies from throughout Latin America aim to offer an overview of innovations both at the deal level and at the capital aggregation level, where holding companies and open-ended funds have proven to be potentially well suited for this space."

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"This study conducts a comparative analysis of social enterprise intermediaries in China and India to better understand how they legitimize social enterprises in new settings. To address theoretical weakness in this sphere, it combines several institutional theories to capture disruptions created by institutional innovation and also legitimizing processes. Drawing on data collected from surveys, interviews, and websites in each country, it finds that intermediaries mitigate negative and leverage positive influences of external institutions though their strategies vary due to country differences in institutional pressures. This information is key to building intermediaries' capacity to institutionalize social enterprises as new institutional actors."

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"This study explores how the social entrepreneurship ecosystem can unite to develop an action plan on gender lens incubation and investing for enterprises focused on the low income market segment in India. It takes an international perspective with a geographical focus on India an emerging leader in innovation for the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) and is supported by examples of such innovative high impact, sustainable enterprises."

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"I present a model of financing social enterprises to delineate the role of impact investors relative to "pure" philanthropists. I characterize the optimal scale and structure of a social enterprise when financed by grants and when financed by investments. The analysis yields two heuristics to guide impact investors. First, investments allow a financier to discipline inefficient spending. Second, investments may enable a social enterprise to exploit new opportunities for profit and may increase the enterprise's scale relative to when grant financed. I quantify these heuristics for the case of Husk Power, a social enterprise that has received impact investment."

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"Imazon, a Brazilian nonprofit promoting sustainable development of the Amazon, exemplifies how social ventures can stay small to achieve large impact. This case study is relevant for any social enterprise working to have outsized impact by collaborating with partners to change systems. It is also relevant for any enterprise using data to create incentives for change."

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"Although early-stage finance is critical to the growth of most ventures, it is even more important for social ventures as they face the challenges of balancing their social and commercial objectives. Drawing on institutional logics and signaling theory, this study uses a panel data set of 3,401 nascent social ventures to investigate the important role philanthropic grant funding plays in the organizational and financial development of social ventures. We find mixed results, with positive effects on employment and subsequent access to debt finance, but no effects on revenues and access to equity. Our findings connect these theories by suggesting philanthropic grants provide social ventures with flexibility to invest in human capital without pushing them to pursue short-term financial objectives, and that receiving a philanthropic grant provides a signal that is interpreted differently by debt and equity financiers. These findings are especially relevant as funders increasingly use grants to support social entrepreneurship."

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"Building on Nesta's 2014 Good Incubation report, this research draws on case studies to highlight strategies for good incubation in challenging environments. It focuses on weaker entrepreneurial ecosystems and offers advice to incubation managers and other ecosystem players, from policymakers to funders alike. Our report aims to support the UK's Department for International Development (DfID) in implementing Innovative Ventures and Technologies for Development (INVENT) by exploring how to do social incubation effectively in India’s low-income states. It draws on empirical evidence from around the world, over 30 interviews with incubator managers and experts in India, and UK best practice."

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"This report charts the rise of social venture incubation with a particular focus on what can be learned by this burgeoning sector from programmes around the world. It is intended for people and organisations wanting to support social ventures either as policymakers, investors or people running incubation programmes, to ensure that ventures have the best support."

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