UNIVERSITIES IN SUPPORT OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
Propositions for Boundary ConditionsNikolay A. Dentchev
Universities in support of Social Entrepreneurs points our attention at the boundary conditions related to the university support to social entrepreneurs (SEs). Many universities offer already tremendous support to social enterprises, and many more could easily follow. Higher education has lots of potential in helping SEs. However, I argue that we need to question the limitations that universities have in supporting social entrepreneurship. Not to discourage this support, but to strengthen its quality. The boundaries of university support are studied in this book through an extensive data collection effort, conducted in Latin America and Europe, in the framework of the ELANET Project (www.elanet-se.org), with 672 completed questionnaires from social entrepreneurs and 697 completed questionnaires from university representatives.
It is interesting to note that SEs would not turn in the first place to universities for help. In addition, there is a contrast in the evaluations of universities’ capacity to support SEs, whereby social entrepreneurs have a rather negative perception and university representatives have rather positive one. The findings of this study have also indicated significant variance in the perception of university representatives with respect to key entrepreneurial competences of SEs. The analysis of the data, together with our experience in supporting SEs, have led to the formulation of six boundary conditions for university support offered to SEs: competence, motivation, visibility, ecosystem, time and academic year. The proposed boundary conditions need to be further studied and scrutinized. However, they also suggest that university officials and academics with cause need to think of developing university policies in support of SEs. I hope this book will inspire university authorities, policy makers, scholars and students willing to support social enterprises.
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Nikolay A. Dentchev
Nikolay A. Dentchev holds the Chair of Social Entrepreneurship at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) and is a Visiting Professor at the University of National and World Economy (Bulgaria). His research is published in journals such as Business & Society, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Journal of Business Ethics, and Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility. He serves as associate editor of Business and Society Review, and occasionally as guest editor to special issues. His research interests are related to social entrepreneurship, BOP entrepreneurship, and sustainable business models.