Can social entrepreneurship contribute to a sustainable, just and inclusive society and how? To this end, new conditions need to be met; new solutions need to be developed.
Societal challenges abound, but solutions are limited. Many challenges related to health, care and climate are tackled by governments and corporations in an unsatisfactory way. Entrepreneurs often take the initiative to provide new solutions for these issues.
These entrepreneurs initiate experiments and scale-up suitable solutions. There is no technical fix: next to new technology, solutions often also comprise new organizational and institutional arrangements. The key agents in this process of tackling societal challenges are social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship comprises the recognition and pursuit of opportunities to address societal challenges in an entrepreneurial and innovative manner, in such way that it yields positive externalities for both the entrepreneur and her target.
However, even though these entrepreneurial solutions have the promise to be more adequate than the traditional government or corporate approaches, social entrepreneurs face multiple challenges in making their ventures work, and especially to scale up their solutions. Social entrepreneurs face challenges with respect to finance, demand, business models and impact definition; these are most urgent when scaling of the solution is needed.
An in-depth understanding of social entrepreneurship is needed in order to effectively contribute to a sustainable, just and inclusive society: what does social entrepreneurship entail? How can we create an environment that stimulates social entrepreneurship and help entrepreneurs face the multiple challenges in making their ventures work? What is the nexus with public procurement?
Strengthening the Dutch ecosystem for social entrepreneurship
The IOS-Hub Entrepreneurship for Societal Challenges aims to develop a new form of collaboration jointly with other key actors (from science, policy, market and society) involved in the ecosystem for social entrepreneurship. It builds a platform that develops and disseminates new knowledge, new ideas, new regulation and new practices, needed to realize changes for a just, sustainable and inclusive society.