Philanthropy Impact

Inspiring philanthropy and social investment across borders, sectors and causes

Taking the Pulse

Taking the Pulse

After two years of work, Siemens Stiftung and Zeppelin University have published a report on social entrepreneurship in Kenya, South Africa, Mexico and Colombia. It examines the development of social enterprise in developing an emerging economies. Innovative social business models are meant to help solve social ills in a sustainable way and build up organisations that can remain up and running without donations. The study provides for the data that evaluates the ability of social enterprises to satisfy the basic needs of poor populations. 

The results of the study are based on a survey of 36 social investors and 286 social enterprises from Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, and South Africa. The goal of the project is researching organisational approaches that contribute to social and economic empowerment. 

The report proposes some interesting findings:

  • Basic goods and services are underrepresented in social enterprises that have received social investment, suggesting there are fewer sustainable market opportunities for organisations serving the lowest tiers at the Base of the Pyramid (BOP). End consumers are an important revenue source, even for social enterprises
  • A large proportion of social entrepreneurs originate from the educational elite, suggesting that education and professional background are imprtant signals to receive social invetsment
  • A large proportions of social entrepreneurs define their social impact metric either alone or with the social investor - which may prove useless for wider purposes, and lacks standardisation
  • For-profit companies with social purpose may be crowding our non-profits as they are increasing recognised as legitimate recipients of social funding
  • Many social enterprises rely on "free cash" or a single funding source

It also sets out recommendations for further development of social enterprise in emerging economies.

Click here to download the report in full (PDF)

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