Young people and civil society organisations (CSOs) are increasingly pushed into social entrepreneurship. While social entrepreneurship can catalyse positive social change in economically sustainable ways, it can also be exclusive and potentially unsustainable for individuals with impact on their wellbeing. At the same time, the dominant approach to social entrepreneurship support neglects the personal costs of the process. This is why this project aims to co-develop, co-pilot, and evaluate a Sustainable Social Entrepreneurship Toolkit (SSET) from a person-centred and critical perspective that enables young people’s engagement in social entrepreneurship in ways that are economically and personally viable in environments of project-based funding, institutional voids, and shifting institutional responsibilities. This will be achieved with a unique approach combining co-creation, case studies, and evaluation to bridge arts and humanities with social sciences and enhance the voices of young people.
This project will provide a foundation for making social entrepreneurship more inclusive and accessible. In doing so, the project will contribute to 1) social entrepreneurship research by challenging the current portrayals of social entrepreneurs as heroes; 2) development studies by challenging discourses around entrepreneurialism and sustainability; and 3) civil society research by addressing calls for research on the lived experiences of individuals involved in CSOs and how these experiences are shaped by organising forms.
By focusing on sustainable social entrepreneurship in Malaysia and Cambodia, this project aligns with the overarching aims of Changing the Story, while questioning important terms in development studies, such as entrepreneurialism and sustainability. The project will generate synergies between the current Changing the Story strands in Malaysia and Cambodia and enable scalability and sustainability of methodologies, learning, and impact across projects from the network.
By co-developing, co-piloting, and evaluating a Sustainable Social Entrepreneurship Toolkit, the potential impact of the project is supporting young people and CSOs to engage in social entrepreneurship in ways that are economically and personally sustainable to shape inclusive civil societies.
Development stage: In progress