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Kivanc Inelmen, Isik U. Zeytinoglu and Duygu Uygur

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Duygu Uygur, Elif Bezal Kahraman and Gonca Günay

This study focuses on female social entrepreneurs (FSEs) suggesting innovative solutions to social problems in Turkey, which is a country characterized by an economy in transition from an efficiency-driven to an innovation-driven stage. It aims to understand how those few Turkish FSEs, who are relatively privileged considering their ability to access resources, make use of innovation in their business model to achieve empowerment. In that attempt, FSEs and their ventures, which are economically self-sustained while innovatively addressing difficult societal problems, are explored though an understanding-driven approach using a case study method and collecting data through interviews and secondary sources. This study uses a business model developed from Hamel (2002) and comprises four components: core strategy, strategic resources, customer interface, and value network. Examples analyzed are for-profit organizations which have a proven record of viability achieved through employment of innovative business models. Therefore these are also examples using innovation as a coping strategy for running business in industries such as fitness, agriculture, and souvenir production, which are generally regarded as traditional and male dominated, to smooth their way through the established norms and conceptions related to social and family roles which constitute the main problem for female entrepreneurs in Turkey. Thus, their innovative business model is effective in transforming various challenges into value creating solutions.