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.

Chapter 6: Crowdfunding, foundations, and impact investors as sources of financial capital for social entrepreneurs

John E. Clarkin

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship


Elif is a fifth-year medical student from New South Wales, Australia, working in a small hospital in the village of Arusha, Tanzania. For just 15 dollars, he can purchase a mosquito net and quinine from local sources to help prevent one more case of malaria in this village, a disease much less costly to prevent than treat (Medical Aid, 2012). Johannes and his wife Sydney live in Berlin, Germany. Once they've completed the Earthship Academy education program in Taos, New Mexico, they plan to create a free online documentary on how to build self-sustainable homes. A small amount of capital will enable them to share their knowhow with others in an effort to mitigate the housing crisis in developing countries (Let Us Be Human, 2012). Elif and Johannes are from different parts of the world, and have different social missions, yet chose the same emerging source of potential funding for their ventures. Like thousands of traditional and social entrepreneurs throughout the world, they've turned to crowdfunding as a means of securing the financial capital needed to pursue their missions. No longer constrained by geo-political borders or restricted to government and philanthropy, crowdfunding is one of a growing number of potential funding sources available to social entrepreneurs.

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