Social Entrepreneurship : A Case Study of SIFE Umeå University
Today the world faces a lot of societal challenges in the economical, social and environmental spheres that needs to be overcome. Global warming, poverty and increasing economic inequality are only some of these challenges. The public debate has been focused on finding solutions to them and one of these has been addressed as social entrepreneurship. This phenomenon is about the era of the new type of entrepreneurs – social entrepreneurs – that recognize these challenges as opportunities that can be exploited in a both profitable and sustainable manner. Social entrepreneurship has in this way emerged as an interesting phenomenon and a new area in the entrepreneurship research.
This study examines the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship by scrutinizing the concept SIFE - Students In Free Enterprise. SIFE is a non-profit organization that claims to be actively engaged in working with social entrepreneurship. The general purpose of this study is to bring a deeper understanding of the social entrepreneurship phenomenon, by describing the particular purpose, the case of SIFE Umeå University as a social entrepreneurship model. Our study is a qualitative case study using semi-structured interviews. Six respondents have been interviewed from different levels of the organization - SIFE Umeå University - in order to reflect the entire organization. We have used a deductive approach by establishing a theoretical framework that guided the interviews and has been used in the analysis of the empirical data.
The main conclusions in this study show that SIFE Umeå University’s work with social entrepreneurship is mainly about socioeconomic and personal development. Another conclusion is that cooperation with partners from different sectors of the society is an important fundament in their work with social entrepreneurship. Furthermore, SIFE Umeå University can be considered as hybrid of a voluntary organization and social enterprise since it includes similarities of both organizational forms. Moreover, the study shows that entrepreneurial skills play an important role in SIFE Umeå University’s work with social entrepreneurship. Finally, we can from this study draw the conclusion that SIFE Umeå University’s work with social entrepreneurship can be divided in six steps: Target group, Job/life training, Commercial enterprises, Personal development, Socioeconomic development, Partnership Network.
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