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Monday, October 23, 2017
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Social Entrepreneurs at the Base of the Pyramid

"Institutionelle und Evolutorische Ökonomik"  · volume 39

240 pages ·  32.80 EUR (incl. VAT and Free shipping)
ISBN 978-3-89518-922-7 (May 2012 )

 
 

Social entrepreneurship has become a widely spread buzzword since Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. This dissertation studies the strategic activity of social entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid. It draws upon the resource-based view, a theory which holds that the success of a venture is defined by the resource combinations it holds (instead of its market position or the historical development). In terms of methodology it is rooted in a hermeneutical paradigm and is qualitative in nature. By establishing a social venture himself the researcher breaks new ground in social entrepreneurship research. Data from that experience are triangulated with those of other cases and interviews. Another characteristic of this research that takes it beyond conventional entrepreneurship research is its longitudinal nature. Empirical data is drawn from a venture in the water sector in Eritrea, a venture that intends to set up an incubator for social entrepreneurs in Germany, a non-profit language school that allows people from developing countries to teach their mother tongues via Skype, and interviews with six Fellows of Ashoka Sahel. Based on these insights twenty propositions regarding the start-up process of social ventures are developed. These propositions follow the hermeneutical paradigm. In the last chapter a positivist turn is made to design a process model of such ventures. This process follows a three-stage model of entrepreneurship from a resource-based perspective.

Amongst other insights the thesis finds that bootstrapping is the most promising strategy during start-up and that staying independent from the local government is crucial for success. It also finds that democratic decision-making processes (which seem common in the social sector) can be an obstacle for successfully starting up. From these and a variety of other insights the dissertation synthesizes practical recommendations for businesses targeting poor communities in developing countries (the so-called base of the pyramid), social entrepreneurs intending to set up a venture and organizations that support social entrepreneurs.


the author
Dr. Tobias Lorenz
Tobias Lorenz Betriebswirt und Philosoph, promovierte bei Professor Dr. Priddat an der Universität Witten/Herdecke. Stipendiat der Hamburger Stiftung für Wirtschaftsethik und Gründer des Social Business Glovico.org.
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