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Sustainable development: How social entrepreneurs make it happen

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  • Seelos, Christian

    () (IESE Business School)

  • Mair, Johanna

    (IESE Business School)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that entrepreneurs who have created innovative organizations and service provision models are contributing to sustainable development. The processes, structures and outcomes of their initiatives are contrasted with more traditional efforts. World leaders have recently renewed the momentum for 'buying' sustainable development through massive allocation of development funds. The authors argue that such traditional approaches have repeatedly failed in the past and are unlikely to overcome the more fundamental hurdles to create development. Building on the findings of a three-year research project, the paper presents case studies which demonstrate how so-called 'social entrepreneurs' succeed in creating social and economic development in a poor country context. The process of discovery and creation from the ground up, in contrast to traditional design-driven development processes and strategies, is illustrated. The cases show how social entrepreneurs cater to various levels of needs: the basic needs of individuals, the institutional needs of communities, and the needs of future generations. The impact of social entrepreneurial activity on sustainable development measures such as the Millennium Development Goals is demonstrated. The findings suggest that social innovation may change the very structures and systems that recreate the circumstances for poverty and that development processes need to consider the link between social and economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Seelos, Christian & Mair, Johanna, 2005. "Sustainable development: How social entrepreneurs make it happen," IESE Research Papers D/611, IESE Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0611
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    File URL: http://www.iese.edu/research/pdfs/DI-0611-E.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan Temple & Paul A. Johnson, 1998. "Social Capability and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 965-990.
    2. Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, 2004. "Does the IMF Perform a Catalytic Role?," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 5(1), pages 117-132, January.
    3. Kenneth Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Lawrence Goulder & Gretchen Daily & Paul Ehrlich & Geoffrey Heal & Simon Levin & Karl-Göran Mäler & Stephen Schneider & David Starrett & Brian Walker, 2004. "Are We Consuming Too Much?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 147-172, Summer.
    4. Seelos, Christian & Mair, Johanna, 2005. "Social entrepreneurship: Creating new business models to serve the poor," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 241-246.
    5. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
    6. Areendam Chanda & Louis Putterman, 2004. "The Quest for Development," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 5(2), pages 1-31, April.
    7. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kean Birch & Geoff Whittam, 2008. "The Third Sector and the Regional Development of Social Capital," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(3), pages 437-450, April.
    2. Hyuk KIM, 2014. "Exploring An Emerging Field: The Implications Of Global Social Entrepreneurship," Management and Marketing Journal, University of Craiova, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 0(1), pages 14-30, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social entrepreneurship; sustainable development;

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