Uncovering Success Factors of Social Enterprises (A Case Study of six Social enterprises from Ethiopia)

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This paper is based on a qualitative study that aimed to identify factors that facilitate or impede success of social enterprises as they pursue both financial and social missions. Utilizing multiple case study research design as proposed by Yin (2003), the researcher gathered primary data by interviewing founders, co-founders, managers, senior staffs, clients and expert involved in social enterprises. The researcher also examined the field notes and publicly available data on these six enterprises. The final data analysis revealed that ten domains business plan or strategy; cooperation and partnership; acceptance of the venture in the public discourse; passion and commitment, leadership skill; education and prior experience; social network; Management or Board support; management abilities and Technology have greater contribution for success. While four variables (Product or service quality; shared vision or long-term vision, government, donor or family support and Risk-taking mentioned as additional variables of success. The study contributes further to the vastly growing yet still largely unexplored area of social entrepreneurship in the country. It also provides some guidance not only to aspiring social entrepreneurs but also to business educators who could contribute to the development of new mission-driven enterprises. The study also shows policy makers that they should put in place measures that will encourage cross-sector collaborations between the private sector, government, and civil society.


Submitted to the Graduate Programs of Addis Ababa University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Sciences in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship


Key Success Factors, Social Enterprise, Social Enterprise Success, Social Entrepreneurship