Theory and Empirical Research in Social Entrepreneurship

Theory and Empirical Research in Social Entrepreneurship

The Johns Hopkins University series on Entrepreneurship

Edited by Phillip H. Phan, Jill Kickul, Sophie Bacq and Mattias Nordqvist

Scholars and policy makers have long recognized entrepreneurship as a powerful engine of economic growth. There is clear evidence, however, that when it comes to social entrepreneurship, policy attention has not been matched by growth in scholarly research. This volume illustrates the type of empirical effort that must take place for the field to advance.


Phillip H. Phan

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship


By now, there is little dispute over the concept that entrepreneurship can be a powerful engine of economic growth for a country. Many have viewed it as a way out of poverty in developing countries because it fosters the accumulation of capital with few pre-existing resources. The advent of ubiquitous communications technology now offers an even quicker path for previously isolated communities to reach global financial and demand markets. Since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 2006 to Grameen Bank and its founder, Dr. Mohammed Yunus, popular attention on social entrepreneurship has increased rapidly. Internet search interest in social enterprises more than doubled, as indicated by Google Trends, peaking in late 2009 and remaining high ever since. This interest has fueled policy debate but with little convergence around an understanding of the causes, processes and consequences of social entrepreneurial initiatives. As such, there continues to be policy and regulatory challenges to social entrepreneurial activity. For example, in some countries (such as Ecuador, Columbia, Belgium, and Italy), microcredit is still governed by usury laws, restricting the use of microfinance and confining the provision of such resources to the public or nonprofit domain. A reason for this situation is that scholarly work has not kept up with the developmental and evolutionary pace of social entrepreneurial practice. The social entrepreneurship literature has gained momentum as an emergent body of knowledge and has grown quickly.