Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing

Social Entrepreneurship is an evolving field of practice that seeks to use market-based interventions to address social inequality and injustice. Social entrepreneurship includes microfinance, fair trade, “triple bottom line” companies, B Corps, incubators, and other for-profit businesses or non-profit market interventions with a defined and measurable social impact. Impact Investing is a relatively new subset of the venture capital market. Impact Investment funds, sometimes also referred to as philanthrocapitalists, provide loans, guarantees, equity investments and other financial support to social entrepreneurs. My goal in this unit is to take a step back and look at these evolving fields, including best practices, failures, and emerging tools/methodologies.

  1. Trends in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing
  2. Microfranchising, Hybrids, Cooperatives, and other Market-Based Interventions
  3. Incubators/Accelerators
  4. Impact Standards, Measurement and Reporting

Because I have already been involved in the social entrepreneurship field, this unit will be focused on researching trends in the field and contributing my own critiques, feedback and experience. Some of the topics I plan to write about are:

  1. How does social entrepreneurship and/or values-based business relate to our current socio-economic world?
  2. Is social entrepreneurship destined to exist on the fringe as small stopgap measures to address larger societal failures?
  3. How do we engage different stakeholders to drive widespread positive change?
  4. How do we even arrive at shared values as a premise for an initiative or business?


  1. “Social Entrepreneurship” – George Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship Open Course via
  2. “Measuring Impact for Social Ventuers” – Ellen Martin (FSG)

Core Texts:

  1. Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever Changing World by  Jill Kickul and Thomas Lyons
  2. Alleviating Poverty through Business Strategy by Charles Wankel
  3. Portfolios of the Poor by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlanda Ruthven
  4. Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great by Jim Collins
  5. Stanford Social Innovation Review
  6. MIT Innovations
  8. Business Model Generation
  9. Catalog of Approaches to Impact Measurement: Assessing Social Impact in Private Ventures by Sara Olsen and Brett Galimidi
  10. CASE Notes from the Duke University Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship


  1. “Convergence: Creating Opportunities Across Sectors” by Coleman, Gulati, and Segovia (Harvard Business Review)
  2. “Impact Investing: Will Hype Stall its Emergence as an Asset Class?” by Philo Alto
  3. “Perspectives on Progress” from J.P. Morgan
  4. “A Positive Theory on Social Entrepreneurship” by Filipe Santos (INSEAD)
  5. “For Love or Lucre” by Jim Frucherman (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
  6. “In Search of the Hybrid Ideal” by Julie Battilana
  7. “Camfed Governance: Accounting to the Girl” by Linklaters
  8. “Cultivate Your Ecosystem” by Paul Bloom and Gregory Dees
  9. “Making an Impact (Study on Impact Measurement)” by David Pritchard

Case Studies:

  1. “The Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, India” – Harvard Business School Case Collection
  2. “Honey Care Africa (A)” – Harvard Business School Case Collection
  3. “Expanding the Playing Field:  Nike’s World Shoe Project “ – UNC Chapel Hill Case Collection


  1. Notre Dame Social Entrepreneurship Program and Mendoza College of Business
  2. Fellow Irish Social Hub (FISH) and Innovation Park @ Notre Dame
  3. George Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship
  4. DC Social Innovation Project
  5. Hub DC
  6. PunchRock – DC Collaborative Community for Social Entrepreneurs
  7. DC Social Entrepreneurs and Changemakers Meetup

Milestones/Projects: Many of the milestones within this unit overlap with those in the Business Development unit. I have only included new milestones below.

  1. Publish article, case study or paper on social entrepreneurship in an academic journal
  2. Update blog at least twice a month with articles and case studies on social entrepreneurship
  3. Letter of recommendation from 3+ consultancy clients (pro-bono and paid)
  4. Serve as a mentor or judge in social business competition
  5. Complete an impact investment from start to finish, including initial discussions, due diligence, investment board approval, negotiations and signing
  6. White paper or blog entry analyzing different impact tracking, reporting and certification systems (i.e. B Corp, IRIS, GIIRS)
  7. Develop industry standard (IRIS or GIIRS) social impact report
  8. Gain familiarity with PULSE Impact Reporting system from Salesforce

Support Needed:

  1. Identifying social entrepreneurs in the DC area for short-term projects
  2. Connecting with other individuals interested in the field for discussions about the different questions/topics above
  3. Connecting with a local incubator to learn more about their model

One Response to “Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing”

  1. Good upload!

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