Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship  book cover
1st Edition

Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

ISBN 9781498717045
Published May 3, 2016 by CRC Press
314 Pages 53 B/W Illustrations

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USD $130.00

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Book Description

Social entrepreneurship is a revolution occurring around the world today. People from all walks of life are developing and implementing innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions in response to social and environmental challenges. These solutions include products, services, and interventions brought to market by new startups and existing organizations, both for-profit and non-profit.

Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship summarizes the basic steps and tools needed to understand the challenge you are tackling, develop potential solutions, build a business model, measure, and grow your impact. Featuring case studies and interviews with leaders in the field, this comprehensive guide spans multiple sectors, including health, the environment, education, agriculture, commerce, finance, and retail. Designed for readers of all backgrounds, this book will change the way you look at today’s world and what you do about it.

Further resources and information can be found at

Table of Contents

How This Book Works
Sustainable Development
Why Is Social Entrepreneurship Different from Commercial Entrepreneurship?
How Is Social Entrepreneurship Different from Other Forms of Social Progress?
Institutions Supporting Social Entrepreneurs
Common Characteristics in Social Entrepreneurship
What Are Some of the Basic Skills Needed for Social Entrepreneurship?
How to Use This Book
Learning Tools
Learning Objectives
Summary and Next Steps
Your Assignment for This Chapter
Social Ventures Mentioned in This Chapter

Characterizing Your Challenge
Part One: Introduction
Two Important Viewpoints
Scope of This Chapter
Data Is Power
Approaching Your Topic
Part Two: A Framework for Characterizing Your Challenge
Part Three: How to Select Your Topic
Part Four: Digging Deeper
Analyzing Your Results
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Your Challenge

Cocreating with the Community
"Community"—What Does This Mean?
Piecing Together Pieces of the Puzzle
The Social Entrepreneur as a Connector
Catalyzing Change
Who Is Your Starting Team?
Step 1. Assessing Stakeholders for Knowledge Exchange
Step 2. Community-Driven Research
Step 3. Creating Collective Capacity
Checklist: AAAQ
Reflective Practice
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Your Homework
Social Ventures Mentioned in This Chapter
Case Study: Ciudad Saludable

Designing Your Solution
Levels of Innovation
Failing Is Part of the Process
Innovation and Design
Generating Ideas, Models, and Solutions
Who Is Your Design Team?
Building Your Solution
Designing a System around Your Product or Service
Beyond Design
Your Theory of Change
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Your Deliverables
Social Ventures Mentioned in This Chapter
Case Study: Hippocampus Learning Centers

Market Strategy
The Multidimensional Market
Compass: Vision, Mission, Values
Value Proposition and Unique Selling Point
Market Size: Defining Your Denominator
Social Market Strategy
Tool: Business Canvas
Market Research
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Taking Your Solution to Market!
Social Ventures Mentioned in This Chapter
Case Study: Daily Table

Delivering Your Solution
Operations and Distribution
What Is Operations?
Distribution Models
Success Factors across Distribution Models
Strategic Partnerships
Your Biggest Resource: Your Team
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: How Will You Deliver Your Solution?
Example Social Ventures from This Chapter
Case Study: Aravind

Measuring Impact
Targeting Success
Different Metrics for Different Fields
Before You Start
What to Look for in Your Impact Metrics
Further Considerations
Building Your Logical Framework
How to Choose Your Targets
Setting Up an M&E System
Assessing Your Results with Your Stakeholders
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Measuring Success
Social Ventures Discussed in This Chapter
Case Study: Nuru International

Completing the Business Model
Building Your Budget
Revenue Models
Timeline and Phasing
Staying Lean
Business Models
Uncertainty and Risk
Know Your Limitations
Tool: SWOT Table
Summary and Next Steps
Building a Viable Venture

Pitching and Networking
Getting the Support You Need to Make This Happen
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
How to Write a Business Plan
Presenting and Pitching Your Plan
Pitching Tips
Building Your Network
So You’ve Got Your Business Plan… Now What?
Finding Your Tribe
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Putting It Down on Paper
Social Ventures from This Chapter

Funding Your Venture
Creating Your Resource Dashboard
Sources of Funding
Types of Funding
Social Investment Approaches
Finding the Right Approach for You
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Funding Your Venture
Social Ventures Mentioned in This Chapter

Building the Organization
Legal Structure
Organizational Health
The Board
Leadership beyond the Founders
Summary and Next Steps
Exercise: Reflections
Social Ventures Mentioned in This Chapter

Communicating Your Venture
What Are the Different Components in Your Communications?
The "Who" and the "Why"
The "What"
The "How"
Evaluate Your Communications
Different Strategies Needed for Different Settings
Different Skills Needed for Different Stages
Tips and Pointers across Audiences, Media, and Messages
Summary and Conclusions
Exercise: Your Communications Strategy

Managing Growth
Part One: Achieving Scale
Part Two: Beyond Scale
Don’t Get Swept Away
Reverse the Tide: Changing the Way Business Is Done
Changing the Field You’re Playing In
Expanding Your Scope of Impact
Seeing the Forest from the Trees
Mechanisms for Expanding beyond Your Venture
Building a Culture of Change
Avoiding a Bubble
Taking the Next Steps Together
Exercise: Fueling Growth

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Dr. Teresa Chahine is the Social Entrepreneurship Program Leader at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Center for Health and the Global Environment. She teaches social entrepreneurship at Harvard Chan School and Harvard Extension School, and trains social entrepreneurs worldwide. Dr. Chahine is also the Director of Alfanar Lebanon, which she launched in 2012. Alfanar is a venture philanthropy organization supporting social entrepreneurs in Lebanon and Egypt since 2004. To learn more about her work and how you can get involved, visit and Connect with her on Twitter @teresachahine.


"Everybody is a changemaker! We can teach and learn skills that help us make more effective and lasting changes. This textbook is a valuable guide to get that journey started. What are you waiting for?"

Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO, Ashoka, USA

"Social Business is a special form of social entrepreneurship where the entrepreneur is not interested in making personal profit, the business is devoted entirely to solving human problems. Chahine's book will make it easy to understand the whole spectrum of social entrepreneurship."

Muhammad Yunus, Yunus Centre & Grameen Bank, Bangladesh

"This book stands out as a landmark publication in the social enterprise literature. We had been waiting for it and now it is here! Whether you are a youth grassroots leader or a senior government official, you need the tools and the mindset to slowly but surely make cutting-edge change. This book can help you organize your thoughts and your steps towards action."

HE Dr. Laila Iskandar, Founder, CID Consulting, Egypt, former Minister of State for Environment Affairs and Minister for Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements, Egypt, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Goldman Environmental Prize winner

"This book is like an encyclopedia of insight on social entrepreneurship. Each person will go through it in a different way depending on their needs...there are many different pathways."

David Bornstein, CEO, Solutions Journalism Network, USA

"A great addition to the field and extremely well constructed."

Susan Davis, former President & CEO, BRAC, USA

"A thoughtful, comprehensive book teeming with case studies and practical guidance to set any aspiring social entrepreneur on the right path. Chahine has adeptly distilled many valuable lessons into a book that inspires and educates with every page. If only it had been around 15 years ago when I began my own journey into the world of social entrepreneurship!"

Willy Foote, Founder and CEO, Root Capital, Cambridge, USA

"Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship is a comprehensive manual for the (potential) beginner social entrepreneurs that guides them step-by-step in developing and implementing a social venture."

Nicolae CutaSocial Economy Development Foundation, Craiova, Romania