Social Ventures as Innovators at the Base of the Pyramid

Working Paper
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Li, Julia 
Garnsey, Elizabeth 

This paper investigates the unaddressed potential of social ventures to implement social and technological innovations. The innovative activities of social ventures serving populations at the base of the pyramid (BOP) provide relevant evidence. Resource based theory and the concept of business ecosystems provided constructs to be operationalized through case evidence, while case studies helped integrate and adapt these theories to illuminate social entrepreneurship. The framework provides a basis for comparing two different social ventures creating value at the BOP: a technology-based social venture and another undertaking health delivery. These ventures enabled user interaction and feedback and enlisted public-private partnerships. The cases show how social ventures can develop innovative business models that combine internal resources with external resources from their ecosystem in order to build shared value. The conceptual framework can be used to identify key features of other cases of entrepreneurial value creation in conditions of poverty

social entrepreneurship, shared value, innovation, business models
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