When looking at the social entrepreneurship movement, one may speak of a growing ecosystem of stakeholders that play a vital role in nurturing and developing the sector. Many of these stakeholders have entered the ecosystem in a supportive context; to help social enterprises scale their business models and improve their social and commercial performance. These social enterprise support providers; each play a vital role in championing the sector and ensuring it grows rather than stagnates.
A question does however lie in whether or not support providers are utilising their combined resources optimally to ensure that support is most impactful from the perspective of the social enterprise. There is no doubt that the independent efforts of many support providers have a positive impact on the sector. However, would the further alignment of the strategies of support providers through collaborative thinking have a positive effect on the support ecosystem? Is it worth challenging the status quo to see how things can be improved where this is feasible and effective?
For further reading and an insight into the challenge of supporting social enterprises at ecosystem-level, I refer you to a recently co-authored conceptual paper published on the topic:
This paper was developed in relation to and on behalf of the Scaling Social Business in East Africa Symposium 2015