Social enterprises in Lima: Notions and operating models

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The social enterprise movement in Lima is gathering momentum. An increasing number of people are taking an interest in this field of activity, in events that help spread the word about its significance, and in a range of initiatives aimed at promoting the phenomenon. In Peru, in general, and in Lima, in particular, there has been a growing interest in promoting the social enterprise movement in recent years, with good results. Young people in particular are more aware of social and environmental issues and look upon enterprises as organisations with the legitimacy and the potential to address these problems. The interest in social enterprises has not, however, been accompanied by the creation of a knowledge base that may help us understand better the peculiarities and complexities of this promising sector. Our article proposes to bridge this gap in knowledge. It is is divided into two sections: (i) definitions; and (ii) operating models for social enterprises. The first section sets out various definitions and interpretations of the term ‘social enterprise’, while the second part provides an empirical account of six different operating models for social enterprises that are active in Lima. Specifically, this part explains the relationship between social enterprises, the market and the intended beneficiaries. We contend that understanding this three-dimensional relationship is essential for developing a credible knowledge base for social enterprises and their value to the wider economy and society. We use qualitative methodology to support our empirical observations. Our extensive review of the literature enables us to draw down three conceptual and practical propositons which we explore through 39 in-depth interviews were held with government officials, social entrepreneurs, academics and representatives of non-governmental, multilateral aid and private-sector organisations related in some way to social enterprises. The study was carried out as part of the ‘International Comparative Social Enterprise Models’ project, financed by the Belgian Science Policy Office in collaboration with the EMES International Research Network.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-78
JournalJournal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015


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