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IJEBR 14,5

Social entrepreneurship in South Africa
Delineating the construct with associated skills
Boris Urban
Faculty of Management, Department of Entrepreneurship, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Purpose – Various theoretical issues and debates were investigated in order to measure quantitatively social entrepreneurship (SE) activity (SEA), together with the different skills associated with successful SE in South Africa. Design/methodology/approach – This was primarily an exploratory study, using factor analysis and inferential statistical testing, based on a surveyed sample of 287 respondents, undertaken to measure SEA and concomitant SE skills. Empirical findings were interrogated in the context of existing research and comparisons with established SEA rates were made. Findings – The findings were modest, particularly about the number of active and future social entrepreneurs. Moreover the validity and reliability of the instrument used to measure skills was established, offering insights into SEA and the types of skills associated with SE. Research limitations/implications – The study is limited by being in the early stage of theoretical development on the SE construct. The interpretation of the empirical findings, understanding SE and the associated skills, may serve as catalyst for this emerging and important activity in SA. Originality/value – SEA and skills were empirically measured for the first time. This initial South African investigation advances the topic to where it has much relevance. Keywords Entrepreneurialism, Management skills, South Africa Paper type Research paper

Received 25 September 2006 Revised 26 January 2007 Accepted 27 June 2007

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research Vol. 14 No. 5, 2008 pp. 346-364 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1355-2554 DOI 10.1108/13552550810897696

Introduction As with any change-orientated activity, social entrepreneurship (SE) has not evolved in a vacuum, but rather within a complex framework of political, economic and social change occurring at global and local levels (Johnson, 2000; Kramer, 2005; Harding, 2006). The contribution of social entrepreneurs is being increasingly celebrated, as was witnessed at the World Economic Forum’s (2006) Conference on Africa in Cape Town recently. Similarly, Warren Buffett’s $30.7 billion donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Cole, 2006) demonstrates that venture philanthropy represents a significant change in how people think about transferring wealth. SE has evolved into the mainstream after years of marginalisation on the edges of the non-profit sector. Venture philanthropists, grant sponsors, boards of directors, non-profit entrepreneurs, consultants and academics are now all interested in the field of SE (Boschee, 2001; Kramer, 2005; Frumkin, 2006). Over the last decade, a critical mass of foundations, academics, non-profit organisations, and self-identified social entrepreneurs have emerged and SE has become a distinct discipline (Kramer, 2005; Dees, 2001).

2006). social entrepreneurs contribute to an economy by providing an alternative business model for firms to trade commercially in an environmentally and socially sustainable way. In particular. p. 2004). government in SA appears reluctant to directly engage with SE endeavours. 1). problems of increasing complexity and magnitude (Lock. socially. 2006. housing and community support (Harding.. social entrepreneurs are also seen to be a growing source of solutions to issues that currently plague society. corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have gained unprecedented prominence in the modern corporation and are well documented in academic research and popular literature (Rossouw and Van Vuuren. the importance of SE as a phenomenon in social life is critical. 2006). ineffective. Driving forces of SE with relevance to SA The central driver for SE are social problems (Austin et al. education. crime and abuse (Schuyler. where an effort to reduce dependency on social welfare/grants is currently being instituted. Accompanying these massive social deficits. 2006). p. the HIV/AIDS pandemic. the devolution of social functions from national to local level and from public to private. since SE merges the passion of a social mission with business discipline. policymakers have limited guidance and recognise that the invisible hand frequently fails to assert itself in the most socially beneficial outcomes (Christie and Honing. and unresponsive.Worldwide. housing. many dedicated centres for SE have evolved. employment and economic problems where traditional market or public approaches fail (Jeffs. 2001. created by Jeff Skoll. 10). 2006) suggest that the time is certainly ripe for entrepreneurial approaches to social problems. Such challenges are exacerbated by a social context characterised by massive inequalities in education. In SA. connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs (The Economist. with social sector institutions often viewed as inefficient. and high unemployment and poverty rates (Rwigema and Venter. Yet despite these achievements. Moreover. Many similar institutions exist and researchers (Dees. Although not new in the commercial/business sector. Exemplifying a growing trend for academic institutions to take this phenomenon seriously. and where the survival of many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is at stake. politically. 2006). and determination (Jackson. where SE remains an under-researched area. SE has unequivocal application where traditional government initiatives are unable to satisfy the entire social deficit. They also provide an alternative delivery system for public services such as health. Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 347 . Christie and Honing. the reduction of funding from the public purse. innovation. 2001. In South Africa (SA). such as poverty. whose mission is to advance systemic change for the benefit of communities around the world by investing in. viewing social entrepreneurs as innately risky – and their activities as maverick endeavours. 1998). 2006). for example the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University. policy makers are using the language of local capacity building as a strategy to assist impoverished communities in becoming self-reliant (Peredo and Chrisman. 2006). many governmental and philanthropic efforts have fallen far short of expectations. and . 2004). and driving forces for social entrepreneurs include: . economically. . Social entrepreneurs provide solutions to social.

and innovative abilities of social entrepreneurs (Kramer. Furthermore. managerial. since most projects have been conceived and managed by development agencies rather than by members of the community. a construct is an idea specifically invented for theory-building purposes. relative to these existing controversies. Therefore. 2006). a study exploring the nature of SE and how to practise it successfully seems justified. Social entrepreneurs are perceived as heading mission-based businesses rather than operating as charities. 2006). their actions have the potential to stimulate global improvements in various . 2000). Broadly the paper seeks to interrogate existing SE theory and then. As in the international arena. As used in social sciences research. the different types of SE activities are measured in conjunction with the level of entrepreneurial and managerial skills typically associated with successful social entrepreneurs. as described by Schumpeter (1934) but with a social mission. although as an academic enquiry SE is still emergent (Austin et al. the author will assume a position relative to these debates and then conduct empirical investigations. Once the various theoretical issues and debates that have made significant contributions to the evolution of SE theory and practice are scrutinised. 2005). a construct also combines simpler concepts especially when the idea is least observable and complex to measure (Cooper and Emory. Those who fund social entrepreneurs are looking to invest in people with a demonstrated ability to create change. Though they may act locally. 1995). Such failures suggest that there are many gaps in understanding SE activities under conditions of material poverty and in different cultural settings (Peredo and Chrisman. Based on these limitations. due to a surge in the establishment of non-profit organisations..IJEBR 14. and the factors that matter most are the financial. particularly within a non-Western context. and then identifying and surveying the different types of skills required for successful SE practices. 1998). To a large extent SE embodies such tendencies. resulting in a lack of ownership on the part of the target beneficiaries (Peredo and Chrisman. they affect fundamental change in the way things are done in the social sector (Dees. The following sections focus on defining and operationalising SE. where social entrepreneurs are reformers and revolutionaries. an investigation into the mix of managerial and entrepreneurial skills associated with successful SE is crucially important to this study. strategic. many poverty alleviation programmes have degenerated into global charity events rather than serving local needs. Social entrepreneurship delineation In examining the SE construct several definitions are investigated and their components are analysed. analyse quantitatively students’ intentions to engage in SE. SE in SA has proliferated in recent decades. 2006). The entrepreneurs seek to create systemic changes and sustainable improvements. and they take risks on behalf of the people their organisation serves (Brinckerhoff.5 348 Moreover. The rationale for focusing this study on SE skills can be found in the many instances where it is impossible to obtain start-up funds without demonstrating proof of concept together with commensurate abilities required to execute such an initiative. Consequently the focus of this study is on delineating the SE construct through a focused literature review and identifying the factors necessary for successful SE to flourish.

p. political science. with social or community goals as its base and where the profit is invested in the activity in the activity or venture itself rather than returned to investors (Harding. A co-operative is defined as an autonomous association of voluntarily united persons who meet their common social. some of the oldest and some of the most modern social enterprises are co-operatives. Combining insights from sociology. Documented cases of CBE include the Mondragon Corporation Cooperative in Spain (Morrison. He also advocated a need for the social sector in addition to the private sector of business and the public sector of government to satisfy social needs and provide a sense of citizenship and community. a new enterprise. acting boldly without being limited by resources currently at hand. Peter Drucker (1979. 2006). The Social Enterprise Coalition is an example of this type of co-operative (Cabinet Office.fields. culture as capital – a theory of social capital. It is also worth noting that these definitions. p. by adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value). scholars now highlight the importance of recognising entrepreneurship as building on a collective process of learning and innovation (Peredo and Chrisman. 2007). leads to benefits in the social world. such as self-employment. Based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report. It is estimated that there are about 800 million co-operative members around the world. even from socially responsible businesses. or any other social field (Dees. Mair . and varies according to socio-economic and cultural environments. Social capital is cumulative. Similarly. 453) introduced the concept of social enterprise when he advocated that even the most private of private enterprises is an organ of society and serves a social function. The language of social entrepreneurship may be new. Indeed. SE is defined as follows: Social entrepreneurship is any attempt at new social enterprise activity or new enterprise creation. which refers to the relationships and networks from which individuals are able to derive institutional support. 1998). Each element in these definitions is based on the body of entrepreneurship research and this is the core of what distinguishes social entrepreneurs from business entrepreneurs. but the phenomenon is not. engaging in a process of continuous innovation. the arts. 310) developed the concept of community-based enterprise (CBE). whether it is in education. 5). which they define as a community acting corporately as both entrepreneur and enterprise in pursuit of the common good. the environment. p. and organisational theory. Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 349 Subscribing to the precept that “Social entrepreneurs are one species in the genus entrepreneur”. economic development. SE can be viewed as a process that serves as catalyst for social change. Such views resonate with Cooper and Denner’s (1998) perspective. health care. Peredo and Chrisman (2006. 2006. by recognising and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission. and exhibiting greater accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created. adaptation and learning. and can be converted into other forms of capital. Based on these collective propositions. Spear (2004) poses the question of whether SE is about creating social enterprise or is more concerned with those particular aspects of entrepreneurship that have a social dimension. 1991). Moreover. Dees (2001. primarily individualistic in their conception. teams of individuals or established social enterprise. fail to adequately acknowledge a collective form of entrepreneurship. economic and cultural needs through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. 2-4) sees social entrepreneurs playing the role of change agents in the social sector. or the expansion of a existing social enterprise by an individual. pp.

which is largely characterised as a collectivist nation. 2001. 2001. and any definition of SE is shaped by the prevailing findings on entrepreneurship theory and practice. Mair and Marti (2006) suggest that the main difference between business and social entrepreneurship lies in the relative priority given to social wealth creation versus economic wealth creation. could include less altruistic reasons such as personal fulfilment. they have a vision of how to achieve improvement and they are determined to achieve their vision (Dees. Peredo and McLean (2006) propose that one could easily ask what makes SE social. by whom. 1997). Although it is beyond the scope of this article to expound on the field of entrepreneurship. 218). and social enterprise (focus on tangible outcome of SE).IJEBR 14. Social entrepreneurs look for a long-term social return on investment.5 350 and Marti (2006) propose the concept of embeddedness to emphasise the importance of the continuous interaction between social entrepreneurs and the context in which they are embedded. These perspectives are reinforced when Weerawardena and Mort (2006). and encompasses socio-structural factors among the sources and remedies for human problems (Bandura. which in turn is shaped by environmental dynamism. nor is customer satisfaction. Bornstein. and what makes it entrepreneurship. This discussion is relevant to South Africa. Rather than profit versus non-profit. which views the field of entrepreneurship as a “scholarly examination of how. although based on ethical and moral issues. advance the concept of SE through empirical research and find it is a bounded multi-dimensional construct deeply rooted in an organisation’s social mission with its drive for sustainability. social and business sectors by harnessing the dynamism of markets with a public interest focus. p. Correspondingly. rather. and social impact is the gauge in SE. including the altruistic motive associated with SE and the profit motive with commercial entrepreneurship. as previously mentioned in terms of CSR. Conceptual differences are noticeable in definitions of social entrepreneurship (focus on process or behaviour). Giddens’s (1998) view is that SE is the way to reconstruct welfare and build social partnerships between public. and to what effect opportunities for creating future goods and services are discovered. it provides a contemporary definition. Similarly. which is more socially orientated that builds on strengths rather than dwelling on deficits. 2006). commercial entrepreneurship also comprises a social aspect. SE differences and similarities in meaning In general. Consequently. Similarly. based on established literature. and where a concept like Ubuntu (together with an element of high community involvement) is in conflict with individualism yet differs from collectivism. Indeed they are not simply driven by the perception of a social need or by their compassion. It is this collectively enabling approach that is essential for collective SE. The social element in definitions is often used to differentiate SE from commercial entrepreneurship. evaluated and exploited” (Shane and Venkataraman. Peredo and McLean (2006) . social entrepreneurs (focus on founder of initiative). However Mair and Marti (2006) argue that such a dichotomy is incorrect since SE. profit is not the gauge of value creation. where the rights of the individual are subjugated to a common good. the concept of SE remains poorly defined and its boundaries to other fields remain blurred (Mair and Marti. Research on SE is clearly based on the knowledge base of entrepreneurship. 1998). and the creation of fresh markets and new jobs.

and therefore probably not being sustainable (Johnson. which allows for further interpretation and analysis. 2006. Despite early notions that entrepreneurship is an innate skill. 2005) indicate that entrepreneurship Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 351 . hypotheses are formulated. with the advocacy of sustainability versus stability being contentious in view of organisations having sustainable finances but no community support.e. Existing theory has revealed a commonality across all definitions of SE. social action organisations and charities. who recognised that the returns that actually accrue to education are substantially undervalued. preoccupations and domains have emerged (Weerawardena and Mort. SE being expressed in a vast array of economic. In order to draw some conclusions from these varying definitional controversies. rather than personal and shareholder wealth. Such conceptualisations reflect the absence of defined boundaries of the SE phenomena. the role of innovativeness. and (2) revenue is used to support social goals instead of shareholder returns. In concordance with other SE reports (Harding. This is the fact that the underlying drive for social entrepreneurs is to create social value. 2003). often voluntary or charitable work done by individuals making a social difference. from the social entrepreneur who establishes a high turnover social enterprise (Harding. . 2006). an attempt is made to offer a position in relation to such debates. SE may be conceptualised in a number of contexts. Fayolle et al. and . Hypotheses formulation and SE skills Due to the exploratory nature of the study and since specific associations are predicted between the variables under study. These hypotheses are based on SE definitional controversies. reflecting such diverse activities. recent studies (e. educational. 2006). simultaneously (Harding. societal impact and environmental sustainability. proactiveness and risk-taking in SE are emphasised by distinguishing SE from other forms of community work. Theoretical conclusions A summary of the SE academic literature suggests a number of themes. 2006). to social goals being the only requirement of the firm.g. 5) it is argued that the SE definition must reflect two critical features of a social as opposed to a mainstream enterprise: (1) the project has social goals rather than profit objectives. Because of their structure and constitution social entrepreneurs are able to serve a triple bottom line achieving profitability. public sector. An additional difficulty in defining SE is differentiating the small scale. welfare and social activities. The economic value of entrepreneurial ability which is acquired through education can be identified through the work of Schultz (1980). and distinctions between managerial and entrepreneurial skills typically associated with successful SE. community.. p. along a continuum of possibilities ranging from entirely social benefits accrued to a firm. which may generally comprise: . and that the activity is characterised by innovation or the creation of something new rather than simply the replication of existing enterprises or practices. i. The definition of sustainability within the context of the non-profit sector is quite different from that of the for-profit sector.interpret a range of social entrepreneurs.

differences exist between non-profit versus for-profit social entrepreneurs. 2000). Through case study exploration of sensemaking. 2000. (2000) distinguish between social entrepreneurs and managers. fund raising. mentoring. knowledge and resources that distinguishes entrepreneurs from their competitors (Fiet. . social mission. particularly where the advantages of collective wisdom versus personal skills are concerned. 2006): networking. while the latter are critical for seeing initiatives through. long-standing needs more effectively through innovative approaches rather than considering commercial entrepreneurship. 2006). Thompson et al. 2002. The nature of the human and financial resources for SE differs in some key respects because of difficulties in resource mobilisation. it is recognised that the mix of managerial competencies appropriate to successful SE may however differ in significant ways from the mix relevant to success in entrepreneurship excluding the social component (Peredo and McLean. with evidence suggesting that those with more education are more likely to pursue opportunities for entrepreneurship (high-growth ventures) (Gibb. Although this distinction clearly overlaps with previous differences highlighted on social goals versus profit. Weerawardena and Mort. Several emergent themes of SE competencies arise from in-depth case study interviews (Thompson. people management. The context of SE differs from commercial entrepreneurship in the way that the interaction between a social ventures mission statement and performance measurement systems influences entrepreneurial behaviour (quantification of social impact is difficult). New analysis (Rouse and Jayawarna. but better conceptualised as a continuum ranging from purely social to purely economic. the former being catalysts for entrepreneurial projects. business training. and based on a prevailing commercial model. and opportunity recognition. Because of this distinction. 107). risk management.. Some key differences that emerge from case examples (Austin et al. In developing a body of theory on SE. Identifying business opportunities and having confidence in personal skills to establish a business may be enhanced through education and training. Since the focus of this study is on the creation of social value through innovation. explore new parameters when applied to SE. 2006) are: . SE focuses on serving basic. a definition of an entrepreneurial competency/skill is offered: An entrepreneurial competency consists of a combination of skills. (2006) highlight the differences between social and commercial entrepreneurship.5 352 education influences both current behaviour and future intentions. p. proactiveness. and where the focus is on long-term capacity versus short-term financial gain. Similarly. 2006) of the policy options available for improving finance to disadvantaged groups and obtaining social inclusion is pivotal towards understanding SE. Additionally. innovativeness. Austin et al. it can be interpreted that the distinction between social and commercial entrepreneurship is not dichotomous. sustainability.IJEBR 14. which tends to focus on breakthroughs and new needs. environmental dynamics. Mills and Pawson (2006) raise questions about the centrality of the notion of risk in new start entrepreneurs’ . .

Thompson (2002) uses an SE map to identify four central themes. (3) whether the capital base is at the establishment base. it seems the ability to develop a network of relationships is a hallmark of visionary social entrepreneurs. setting aside competitiveness for funding purposes. Based on these skills. Furthermore. trades. a real and tangible mission and vision. and finance. Orloff (2002) identifies one element as key to both the emergence of a social venture partnership and its continued success – leadership. Brinckerhoff (2001) provides a SE readiness checklist incorporating the areas of mission. as is the ability to communicate an inspiring vision for motivating staff. Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 353 . the start-up and success of social entrepreneurs may alter how the feasibility of engaging in an entrepreneurship is gauged. (5) the composition of the venturing team (salaried versus volunteer workers).. power-based action plans.rationales for the enterprise development decisions they make. and (8) the entrepreneur’s previous managerial experience. (7) the ability of the service to pass the market test. (4) acceptance of the idea in public discourse. (6) forming long term collaborations within the public and non-profit sectors. in identifying factors contributing to SE success. Similarly. i. 2006). partners. the right person heading up the organisation. 2000). (3) volunteer support. . where a scenario analysis exercise enabled key stakeholders to confront and deal with considerable uncertainties by developing a shared understanding of the barriers to small firm growth and rural economic regeneration.e. reliability and commitment of partners. skills. Additionally. Similarly. . and how the success of one venture increases the perceptions of the acceptability and desirability of other social initiatives. and . and are likely to be a function of skills. systems. arranged in order of their value: (1) the entrepreneur’s social network. space. which are: (1) job creation. The notion of stakeholder engagement is taken further by Fuller-Love et al. Lock’s (2001) report on strategic alliances between non-profit and for-profit organisations reflects the following criteria key to the success of the program: . . risk. (2) total dedication to the venture’s success. (2) utilisation of buildings. These findings should also be read in conjunction with the type of enterprise on which a social entrepreneur embarks. (2006). and resources available within the community (Peredo and Chrisman. trust between the partners. Sharir and Lerner (2006) demonstrate that eight variables contribute to success. and (4) focus on helping people in need. and volunteers (Thompson et al.

. 2005. relinquish control). Fernsler. Chell et al. emphasise customer service/anticipate the need for large amounts of start-up capital.IJEBR 14. The following hypotheses are subsequently formulated and statistically tested for significance: H1. 2004). The justification for using a positivist approach to establish a skill set. An intention is a representation of a future course of action to be performed (Ajzen. . has been adapted for the purpose of this study to measure students’ SE intentions. 2001. practise organised abandonment (focus efforts and resources). the social entrepreneurship activity (SEA) index. 2004). . . 2005). Consolidation of these theoretical issues. published research is full of exploratory findings and the use of techniques – such as factor analysis – that a true positivist would deem unscientific (Davidsson. and consequently many prescriptions are offered (Boschee. some of which are: . it is not simply an expectation of future actions but a proactive commitment to bringing them about. . 2005). entrepreneurs. conduct market and pricing research/pay a good wage. demonstrates that the underlying drive for social entrepreneurs is creating social value. A mechanism for measuring SE. This activity is characterised by innovation or the creation of something new using a mix of managerial and entrepreneurial skills. Brinckerhoff. together with the prescriptions offered for successful SE practices. prevent the non-profit culture from becoming an obstacle (take risks.5 354 Many social entrepreneurs find that lessons accumulated from the pioneers in the field are invaluable for future success. and . it seems reasonable to assess the prospective social entrepreneur’s capacity for practising SE with a modified skills instrument as gleaned from the literature. Analysing non-quantified data on several variables from many cases is often described as beyond the cognitive and affective limits of most researchers (Davidsson. It could further be argued that applying formal measurement and statistical analysis to the different skills levels cannot truly be deemed positivistic approach. Nothing in the nature of this data would prevent deeper speculations and insights from emerging when analysed. unrelated business activities are dangerous. and those who are not. Social entrepreneurship is best exemplified through a mix of skills which reflect distinct factor structures in terms of entrepreneurial and managerial competencies. is supported in previous investigations (Turner and Martin. and managers. There are significant differences between respondents who are currently starting/involved with or managing a social enterprise.. 1991). . as conceptualised in the UK Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2005 report (Harding et al. recognise the difference between innovators. H2. Intentions and actions are different . Emerson. rather than rely on a qualitative methodology. earned income is paramount. 2006. Research design Extending the SE construct. 1997. moreover. 2001).

21-24: 30. regarding age groups (17-20: 64. p. constituting a mix of entrepreneurial and managerial skills. the importance of the validity and reliability of these measures was considered and factor analysis was employed. 2006). 9). Hemmasi and Hoelscher (2005) consider the common practice of using university students as proxies for entrepreneurs to be convincing. Based on the recommendations for the correct size of a pilot group. Pilot testing was used to detect weaknesses in the instrument. voluntary or community service. and female (49. They find that the student sample strongly resembles actual entrepreneurs. due to the exploratory nature of the study. activity or initiative were posed as yes-or-no questions. In the absence of intention.8 per cent). i. instructions to respondents. Based on the indicators constituting social entrepreneurship.aspects of a functional relationship separated in time. it was decided to target university students from various faculties at different levels of study (undergraduate to post-graduate). 1995). As a matter of practicality the instrument was distributed to students of various faculties in a classroom setting.e. Intentions centre round plans of action. 2001. which was initially investigated through qualitative case studies and lessons learnt in successful SE practices (e.. and ensured that a high response rate was achieved (n ¼ 287).7 per cent). Statistical results and interpretations Sample characteristics The sample characteristics (see Table I) are reflected in percentages in terms of: gender.1 per cent). of various ethnic backgrounds. interest and energy to become the next generation of social and civic leaders (Canadian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. which allowed the researcher to maintain control over the environment. the faculty of registration was Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 355 . Sampling In terms of sampling. Respondents in this group possess the talent. male (48. action is unlikely to occur (Bandura. and anonymity were all considered in the final questionnaire design in order to generate a high response rate (Cooper and Emory. 2002. provided that it has high entrepreneurial potential. Moreover.g.6 per cent). Student populations add control and homogeneity because individuals who are studying have been identified as being more likely to have an interest in pursuing SE (Harding et al. This notion was extended to include social entrepreneurs. A judgmental sampling approach was used to represent sample characteristics of respondents most likely to be social entrepreneurs. 2005). 1995). 25-100 respondents not necessarily being statistically selective (Cooper and Emory. several competency/skill items were measured on a five-point Likert scale. two questions pertaining to the respondents’ involvement or inclinations towards trying to start/manage any kind of social. Notwithstanding these precautions. Thompson. The questionnaire’s length. Additionally. This skill set. for the SE skills instrument. Hence. the objective was to use students and not the general population. was further validated through quantitative factor analysis. in order to obtain representativeness of a typical student population. in respect of education (those who completed matric and were undergraduate students: 94. Weerawardena and Mort. an instrument was designed to measure typical skills associated with successful social entrepreneurs. 2001).6 per cent). the instrument was pre-tested on colleagues (n ¼ 5) and actual respondents (n ¼ 30) for further refinement of the instrument.

7 per cent).845 0.263 3.056 2.795 0.972 0.814 0.781 0.030 3. with even distributions among other categories accounting for the balance.847 0.815 0.983 3.714 0. whereas Management (24.841 3.030 3.799 2.932 356 Gender Factor 1 Factor 2 Are you currently trying to start any SE? Factor 1 Yes No Factor 2 Yes No Are you currently involved with or managing any SE? Factor 1 Yes No Factor 2 Yes No Which faculty are you currently studying in? Factor 1 Art.IJEBR 14.8 per cent).808 3. these categorisations are representative of the broader South African population demographics. Art and Design (20. and Economic and Financial Sciences (15. In terms of the type of SEA the highest recorded category was religious activities (25.3 per cent).802 0.924 0. or Coloured South Africans (2.661 2.768 0.076 2.973 0.045 0.084 SD 0.081 3.787 0.856 3. Factor and reliability analysis Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin’s measure of sampling adequacy and Bartlett’s test of sphericity were used for the factor analysis and the extraction method was based on principal axis factoring.224 2.858 2. respondents categorised themselves as Black Africans (81.5 per cent). Asians (4. Design and Architecture Economic and Financial Sciences Engineering and Built Environment Management Total Table I. Although such ethnic/racial distributions are not typical of all university populations in South Africa.5 Factors Factor 1 Factor 2 Mean 2. and education (12. Design and Architecture Economic and Financial Sciences Engineering and Built Environment Management Total Factor 2 Art.561 2.8 per cent).078 Male Female Male Female 2.3 per cent). Two factors were extracted on eight iterations.748 0. Descriptive statistics on variables Engineering and the Built Environment (33.886 3. Caucasians/Whites (9.1 per cent).096 2.919 3.776 2.679 0.091 2.821 3.766 2.850 0.885 0. with negligible participation from the Health and Sciences faculties.789 1.6 per cent). In terms of ethnicity.3 per cent). 8 per cent).969 0. followed by sport (19 per cent).829 0.762 0.944 0. with eigenvalues of .

Conducting market research (M) Notes: E. Fund raising (E) 5. as was conceptualised for this study. M.836 and 0.4. Referring to Table II. Complementary competencies are a key determinant for successful SE (Turner and Martin.554 0. managerial skills Factor 1 0. Producing visionary projects (E) 8. 15 constituting factor 2 (named here as the core SE factor). Although based on the empirical results.396 0. These two sets of skills are not perceived to be mutually exclusive.556. Taking risks (E) 3. It could be argued that the three items representing factor 2 – fund raising. Stressing customer service (M) 10. as both sets are required for successful SE. and offer insights into the levels and mix of skills used by current and potential social entrepreneurs.736 0. Partial support for H1 is offered in the two factors that were obtained.918 0. comprising the majority of the items used to measure SE skills – a mix of nine managerial and entrepreneurial items – indicates that individuals displaying both sets of skills. Managing people (M) 6.657 0.779 0. Mean score analysis Descriptive statistics were calculated for the two first-order factors and the one second-order factors (see Table I). respectively. Networking (E) 4.9 per cent and 10. Factor 1 (with a mix of entrepreneurial/managerial items) was represented by the majority of the remaining nine items.287. Administering a funded program (M) 7. Being innovative in a project (E) 12.702 Factor 2 Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 357 Table II. with items 12. Factor structure for SE skills . all items had factor loadings above 30. both factors also registered a relatively high mean score. may regard themselves as being more efficacious than when only relying on one set of skills. specifically the eclectic mix of managerial and entrepreneurial skills are both reaffirmed as being necessary for practising SE.527 0. Managing finances (M) 2. entrepreneurial skills. it was established Variables 1. 2005). with a composite factor a of 0. 2005).424 0.321 0. Focus and dedication to project (E) 11. without reference to entrepreneurship skills.424 0. administering the project and visionary leadership – are critical to and constitute the core of any type of SE engagement. The Cronbach’s a values for factors 1 and 2 were 0. it is apparent that although the SE construct is naturally focused on distinct entrepreneurial competencies.858. and were consequently named as the core skill set (factor 2). which explained 39. Managing a team (M) 9. Factor 1. these skills are complemented by more traditional management skills.799 and 1. In accordance with the statistical findings (Turner and Martin. A pure managerial approach. would have counteracted the purposes of practising SE.712. The validity and reliability of the instrument used to assess SE competencies were established.7 per cent of variance respectively. and the entrepreneurial/managerial skill set (factor 1). 14. The two factors were correlated at 0.339 0. Based on the initial descriptives.

0. i. focused and conducting research are higher order priorities.223 5. the multiple comparison Scheffe test – was calculated for the dependent variables as factor 1 and the final factor solution.506 if no differences among group means in the population were evident: since this probability does not exceed the 0. These 358 Sum of squares Factor 1 Factor 2 Table III.5 that age.506 1. in relation to differences between factors among the study variables. for factor 1.IJEBR 14.00 per cent) probability of obtaining an F value of 4. ANOVA for faculty registration Final factor Between groups Within groups Total Between groups Within groups Total Between groups Within groups Total 8. level of education. a more stringent test – i. regarding the faculty of registration.992 3.150 147. using ANOVA (see Table III). and ethnic group categories were skewed and fell predominantly into one category.860 1. the following test results were analysed: . and .961 127. . specifically where being innovative.e.923 121. and (factor 2 ¼ 0:022). and were accordingly excluded from inferential testing.974 0. It is plausible that the sample of respondents from the EFS faculty consider their abilities in financial and managerial related matters to be more advanced than those of other faculties’ members. concerning the current or future SEA.736 5. For H2.116 0. In relation to previous studies these findings also contradict the order and priority of variables where substantive differences in networking have a much lower correlation than stipulated in Sharir and Lerner’s (2006) findings. the only statistically significant differences were found between types of faculties. gender – the independent samples t-test procedure was carried out with no significant differences detected at the 0. above the midpoint on the 1-5 Likert scale.599 209. there appeared to be a 0.712 0.675 Sig.691 0. Hence.05 level.05 level were detected.884 df 3 233 236 3 238 241 3 227 230 Mean square 2.004 (4.004 0. one can conclude that there are significant differences for factor 1 relating to type of faculty.013 .137 204.05 level.597 1. The mean scores for both the factors are relatively high. probably as a result of exposure to the similar type of discourse used in SE and the EFS faculty. no significant differences at the 0. Inferential statistical testing Where mean scores on separate factors were calculated. in determining which specific faculties differed on SEA. There was a difference within specific faculties.e.537 F 4.073 139. with the EFS faculty having significant higher scores on both factors. engineering and built environment (EBE) versus economic and financial sciences (EFS) (factor 1 ¼ 0:010).

5 per cent of those in full-time employment (Harding et al. and who are labour market inactive.. it seems that recently there has been an upsurge in SEA. the non-profit sector is facing Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 359 . p. which is directly comparable with their total entrepreneurial activity (TEA) rate of 6. as conceptualised for the UK GEM report and for this paper. however the majority. 73.differences imply a different skill set arrangement with commensurate differences in educational and training priorities which target fostering innovation and employing research principles amongst other skills. and with 5. and 81.4 per cent answered “no” to such involvement. 2006. but rather provides an indication of the propensity of particular groups for striving towards entrepreneurial rather than economic means. it is tempting to categorise SEA in SA as generally low. although no comparison with any non-student population groups were made. It is a first in SA where SEA was empirically derived and associated competencies were measured. In the UK the SEA rate comprises 3. Discussion and conclusions Although the results are modest. compared to 2. Such findings are reasonably good for exploratory research in a new domain such as SE in SA. Based on this study’s exclusive sample the results indicate that students are likely as a group to be engaged in SE. with previous studies confirming that such respondents are likely to have interest in pursuing SE. 15). Education is also predictor of propensity to be a social entrepreneur in the UK. particularly in the number of active and future social entrepreneurs. As the findings indicate. a meaningful comparison between these rates is not entirely appropriate as the UK GEM 2006 uses survey data from 27.2 per cent of the adult population.7 per cent in the 25-34 age group.296 18-64-year-olds randomly stratified.4 per cent of the sample is currently trying to start a venture. In this study. Ethnic group differences were also reported in the UK GEM. SEA does not measure all socially motivated enterprise activity. with significant differences between youngest and oldest age groups. they are not trivial. characteristic of the study sample. Currently.9 per cent answered “no” to any such inclination towards SE initiatives. the prevalence of SE is more widespread amongst younger people with education. The UK sample results indicate that 24. with several organisations vying for the same donor funds (Weerawardena and Mort. Presently. where non-white groups (5 per cent) are more likely to be social entrepreneurs than their white counterparts (3 per cent) (Harding. Conceptual integrations Based on the existing literature. 2006). the highest SEA rate of 3. Comparatively. 2005). In the UK. non-profit organisations are operating in a highly competitive environment characterised by tighter financial restrictions.2 per cent.4 per cent of those who only have undergraduate qualifications. However. This indicates that younger people more likely to be involved in social initiatives.9 per cent is in the 18-24 age group. 17. Although any generalisations would mar the rigour of the analysis undertaken.5 per cent of people with postgraduate qualifications socially active compared with 2. The results indicate that the profiles of the individuals represented in this sample are typical of potential social entrepreneurs. driven by changes in the competitive environment.2 per cent of respondents indicated “yes” to current involvement with SEA. some 5 per cent of the student population are social entrepreneurs compared with 3.

Like business entrepreneurs. the vague and undefined goals of empowering people or changing lives further obfuscate the outputs of SEA. 311). i. This specifically refers to the unjustifiably high administration costs. Little effort has been devoted to measuring results involving the double bottom line (financial and social performance) or the triple bottom line (financial. the challenges they face during start-ups are similar to those faced by business entrepreneurs (Sharir and Lerner. and creating the circumstances for “patronage. Hence the difficulty social entrepreneurs experience becomes apparent when balancing resource allocation between profit-making and welfare-providing activities. competition and profit. and the legal. 2006. 2006) has identified key barriers for SE community engagement. Established research indicates a wide range of both entrepreneurial and managerial skills. 2005). perceptions of macroeconomic. it could be argued that it is undesirable to implement a welfare system where the beneficiaries are subject to the vagaries of the entrepreneurial model (Seelos and Mair. pathological institutional behaviour and financial malpractice” (Johnson. 2000. 64) highlight the false premises and dangerous precedents and standards for SE when they argue that using a private entrepreneurial model in pursuing social justice aims. 2000. In fact. as being necessary for successful SE.. (2003. community management practices. Challenges for social entrepreneurs Social entrepreneurs and philanthropic efforts are not exempt from criticism and widespread flaws are evident in their fundamentals. . Moreover it seems that a core set of skills seems indispensable for undertaking SE. social and environmental). 3). Moreover the increasing concentration of wealth in the private sector is mitigating calls for greater social responsibility and more proactive responses to complex social problems (Johnson. 2006). social entrepreneurs initiate and implement innovative programmes. and political environments (Peredo and Chrisman. dependency. previous occupational or technical skills. social. 1). whereas the social entrepreneur prospers on innovation and inclusiveness for changing the systems and patterns of societies (Jeffs. with significant overlaps. 2006). local culture.5 360 intensifying demands for improved effectiveness and sustainability in light of diminishing funding from traditional sources. p. noted for their role as primarily providing subsidies on behalf of global donors.IJEBR 14. and lack of vision for community engagement – all of which are also highly relevant towards explaining the low SEA rate as reported in the findings. the SE situation is much the same. lack of formal processes for handling requests. which cannot be valued in the market. among which are overwhelming requests and choice of viable options. despite being differently motivated. p. 2006). is likely to violate the case for market efficacy. p. Internationally. What may be called a beggar mentality has emerged in many communities where there have been massive aid interventions (Peredo and Chrisman. Recent research (Madden and Scaife. p. which remain unremedied to this day (The Economist. The commercial entrepreneur thrives on innovation. with non-governmental developmental organisations (NGDOs) working in developing countries.e. while being readily susceptible to statistical manipulation. 2006). Cook et al. even though a large number of elements play a role in SE.

such networks being easy and cheap to establish (Harding. Study implications A contentious issue in SE. Stevenson. Vol. a positive link between SE success and skills. 2006). social entrepreneurs are community-centric and rely heavily on networks and support structures. By using students the psychological diversity of the general population is possibly underestimated. and Wei-Skillern. 2006. Moreover. Sharir and Lerner. Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control. By developing capacity through relevant interventions and partnerships. J. Moreover. which is currently beset by social inequalities. exposure and training could induce early stage SEA. W. social entrepreneurs can add value and meet the needs of groups who have been failed by previous government attempts in social redress. and since funding requests often require concomitant competencies to add value. Related to this issue of support is the question of training and capacity building for SE. research is limited by the restricted sampling frame. However if SE is defined as a highly creative and innovative individual approach. even though SEA is predominant among student populations. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. then these skills are fairly replicable. A. 2005). modelling.g. i. the study is also susceptible to bias (e. government also has a role in fostering a culture of social enterprise by raising awareness of social enterprises among students through education and through disseminating information and providing resources for promoting social entrepreneurship. Freeman & Company. “Social and commercial entrepreneurs: same. pp. and their perception for having a capacity for innovation that autocratic bureaucracies traditionally do not have (Turner and Martin. social entrepreneurs based in the community are able to add value in ways that are often not possible through mainstream policies. social entrepreneurs should look for the most effective methods of serving their social mandate through funding and sponsoring the activities of community-based projects. Since competencies can be nurtured. H. colleges. if SE is defined as principally employing entrepreneurial and managerial skills to the non-profit sector. SE activity is heavily influenced by access to training. 179-211. and universities.e. and by any related measures. (1991). (1997). As construed in literature.H.. Perhaps particularly in SA. self-serving bias with regard to skills level). J. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes. 2000).Study limitations The study is limited by the early stage of theoretical development in the SE construct. 30 No. As with mainstream entrepreneurship. 2000). replication will be much more difficult to achieve and the focus would then be on developing conditions in which latent entrepreneurial talent could be harnessed for social purposes (Johnson. is that there are few institutional mechanisms in place to support this work (Johnson. (2006). References Ajzen. 1-23. or both”. because of the newness of the concept. 50. However. NY. Bandura. Vol. “Theory of planned behaviour”. 1. and by promoting SE as an alternative business model within schools. their closeness to the community. Since survey data was self-reported. I. 2006). different. pp. training and development for SE should be mandatory (such as the school for social entrepreneurs in the UK) (Sharir and Lerner. Austin. Social entrepreneurship in South Africa 361 . New York.

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