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Addressing rural social exclusion through African social purpose ventures

Littlewood, D. and Holt, D. (2013) Addressing rural social exclusion through African social purpose ventures. In: 36th ISBE Conference, 12-13th November, Cardiff.

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Objectives. The overarching aim of this paper is to consider the relationship between social entrepreneurship and rural development, and as a mechanism to address social exclusion in the Global South, with specific reference to Sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing upon a number of case examples of social purpose ventures in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia the objectives of this paper are: - To provide a synthesis of existing literature on the interaction between social purpose ventures and rural BoP communities in the developing world; - To explore extant social exclusion literature including economic, political and international development dimensions; and - To analyse the case study examples to consider the channels through which social purpose ventures contribute to tackling social exclusion amongst the rural BoP. Prior Work. There is growing interest in the role that social enterprises and wider social purpose ventures can play in sustainable development in the Global South. In many developing countries the majority of the population still reside in rural areas with these areas often particularly marginalised and underdeveloped. Previous studies have provided anecdotal examples where social purpose ventures have the potential to provide innovative solutions to the development challenges faced by rural households and communities. Yet research in this area remains relatively nascent and fragmented. In depth empirical studies examining social purpose ventures and rural development in the Global South are furthermore limited. Approach. Data was collected during in-depth case study research with social purpose ventures in Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique. Cases were selected through a purposive sample with access negotiated to rural BoP communities through gatekeeper partners. Qualitative research methods were primarily employed including interviews, stakeholder focus groups and observational research. Results Six channels through which social purpose ventures contribute to tackling social exclusion amongst rural BoP communities are identified. These include ventures with the BoP as employees, producers, consumers, entrepreneurs, service users and shareholders. A number of shared characteristics for successful social purpose ventures are also outlined. Finally implications for policy, practice and research are discussed. Implications. Despite the increasing attention being given to social purpose ventures as a mechanism for global sustainable development many questions remain unanswered. Limited empirical work has been undertaken on such ventures operating in rural settings in the developing world, particularly Africa. The paper will add to academic and practitioner knowledge in this area especially in relation to up-scaling impact, the long term sustainability and viability of social purpose enterprise ventures, and effective supporting interventions. This paper adds to knowledge in the field of social purpose venturing in the developing world. It identifies various channels through which such ventures help tackle rural social exclusion and also factors influencing their success. The paper provides insights for practitioners and policy makers, particularly in relation to facilitating successful social purpose venturing. Value This paper will provide insights relevant to both academic and practitioner audiences. It addresses a subject area and geographical region that has received limited research attention to date. The paper adds to knowledge on social purpose ventures and social entrepreneurship in Africa and wider developing world environments, and contributes to debates on its potential and present limitations as a vehicle for development and societal transformation

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:36919


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