"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"This report has focused on developing an in-depth, demand-side understanding of the needs and challenges facing inclusive businesses, rather than on studying the drivers and constraints of grantmakers and investors. However, we acknowledge that the latter is a valuable area for further study and action going forward.
The key themes discussed here are based on the sum of Monitor's extensive research into more than 700 inclusive businesses in Africa and India, and Acumen Fund's decade of experience as a pioneering impact investor. They also draw together the experiences and observations of dozens of impact investors, grant funders, academics and other experts."
"Early-stage social entrepreneurship is creating grassroots change in communities across the world. It is a fundamental stage in the journey of every social venture and yet is under-resoourced and under-researched. In this report we reveal how support is currently provided to early-stage social entrepreneurs by diverse organisations, members of GSEN. It is the first step in our continuing efforts to empower the social entrepreneurship sector with knowledge,contributing to its growth and increased efficiency."
"In this paper, we carry out a literature review of the studies investigating the factors that affect the performance and growth of clean technology start-up firms. The importance of clean-tech start-ups lies in their mission to protect the environment by facilitating the increased use of clean energy and environmentally friendly solutions. At the same time, the entrepreneurial nature of many of these firms enables introduction of radical innovations necessary for making breakthroughs in the industries of renewable energy and environmental technology that in turn are essential for the industry development. Given their significance, there are surprisingly few studies with the focus on the factors affecting the growth of clean-tech start-ups. Our search in leading management, entrepreneurship and energy journals has yielded a total of 13 articles, almost all of which focus on such external factors as policies. We argue that this gives us an incomplete picture of the factors enabling a clean-tech firm's development. As clean-tech firms are a subset of the population of new technology-based firms (NTBFs), we draw on the literature dealing with the factors that promote growth of NTBFs in order to build our framework for structuring the results. The analysis uncovers what future research areas can be pursued in order to gain a more balanced understanding of what enables the development of a clean-tech start-up. We suggest that in addition to the macro-studies of policies and regulations, future research needs to examine the individual and firm-specific factors, e.g. characteristics of the clean-tech entrepreneurs, teams, governance mechanisms and network structures. Furthermore, the existing focus on the environmental and innovative performance of clean-tech start-ups should be complemented by examining the alternative firm outcomes related to e.g. financial performance, social identity, alliance portfolio and internationalization."
"Through the efforts of the irene|see network, the researchers have contributed to both theoretical and empirical knowledge around social enterprise and social economic empowerment that is pluralistic in disciplines, as well as methodology. The multidisciplinary studies presented in this volume contribute to the effort to understand the diversity of social enterprise experiences at national and local levels, as well as the way third and private sector enterprises and organizations are embedded in their respective societies. This volume aims to presents some of the findings, results, and recommendations of the researchn conducted through the irene|see network."
"This report begins with an overview of Enclude's research methodology and the survey respondents, which included Echoing Green Fellows. The first half is dedicated to exploring respondents' current and anticipated funding by Capital Readiness Segment. The second half provides a look into the entrepreneurs' top barriers to accessing capital, as well as their desired support needs, and includes case studies of enterprises in each Segment. Finally, Echoing Green and Enclude suggest a framework for thinking through how to provide capital readiness support for a portfolio of social entrepreneurs, in addition to identifying three specific interventions and next steps."