Social Value in Entrepreneurship: from theory to practice

Futures Entrepreneurship Centre International Week 2017

  • Room 108, Mast House, 24 Sutton Road, Plymouth, PL4 0HJ

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The third day of the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre International Week is a research and scholarship day on the social value in entrepreneurship.

During this day the guest speakers will present their research findings on the meaning of social value in entrepreneurship understood as both: a mode of business and a responsible behaviour. The challenge of competitive advantage through the creation of social value will be discussed and finally, the position of a responsible researcher will be explained and how it can impact social change. 

The day will be structured as an academic debate and will be suitable for early career academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and not-for-profit organisations, local governments and municipalities engaged with developing and understanding the value of social enterprise in economy and society at large. 


  • 09:00-09:30 - Registration
  • 09:30-10:30 - Presentation 1: Building competitive advantage through social value creation (Dr Agnieszka Zur)
  • 10:30-10:45 - Break
  • 10:45-11:45 - Presentation 2: International entrepreneurship and socio-cultural behaviours in Europe (Professor Krzysztof Wach)
  • 11:45-12:45 - Presentation 3: Business models for social entrepreneurs (Professor Marek Ćwiklicki)
  • 12:45-13:30 - Lunch
  • 13:30-14:30 - Presentation 4: Social entrepreneurship in practice - from the Idea to the pitch (Andrew Isaak)
  • 14:30-15:30 - Presentation 5: The responsible researcher - the approach of participatory action research (PAR) (Gyorgy Malovics)
  • 16:00 - Close

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Today's events

Presentation 1: Building competitive advantage through social value creation

Speaker: Dr Agnieszka Zur 

In this presentation Dr Zur will be addressing the theme of competitive advantage of social enterprises. The existing literature depicts very specific features of social enterprises that distinguish them in many aspects from strictly business-oriented ventures, cause internal tensions and present a set of very unique organisational challenges. One of these challenges is the struggle to blend social mission with financial stability, which oftentimes comes down to building and maintaining a competitive advantage. Depending on the type of social enterprise, business model and sector this can vary significantly. The presentation presents the research results of a qualitative study carried out on a sample of social enterprises from Hong Kong, US and Poland. The presentation presents identified factors of competitiveness and the relationships between them. The phenomenological comparative case study suggests that the strongest factor of competitiveness is a clear and well communicated social mission. Yet, the social nature of social enterprises limits the access to superior resources at the same time. Thus social mission can be both the source and the constraining factor of SE competitive advantage. Recognising and managing this paradox seems to be the key to SE market and social value delivery success.

Presentation 2: International entrepreneurship and socio-cultural behaviours in Europe 

Speaker: Professor Krzysztof Wach 

Culture is one of the main determinants for the various entrepreneurial activities undertaken in different countries, nevertheless, it needs further exploring to yield a wider understanding of the role of the social aspects of entrepreneurship. The lecture discusses the role of culture and cross-culture aspects for doing business in the European Union. 

The learning objectives of this module include: (i) Define the most important elements of culture and understand the importance of culture to international business in Europe, (ii) Discuss how the socio-cultural environment affects doing business in the European Union, (iii) Understand the culture of EU-28 countries, cooperating regions and other nations in the world. The lecture will illustrate to bachelor and/or masters students how to do business across border in different states of the European Union taking into special account the socio-cultural aspects.

Presentation 3: Business models for social entrepreneurs

Speaker: Professor Marek Ćwiklicki

Doing business takes place within a specific framework called Business Model (BM). BM can be broadly defined as a way of doing business which creates and delivers value. BMs can be interpreted as a construct comprising both the rationale and the route for organising value creation, but based on conventional ideas and perspectives with a primarily narrow economic emphasis focused largely on a competitive profit maximisation route to value creation. For social entrepreneurship purpose BM should be refined. It also covers the problem of sustainability in terms of triple-bottom-line and a concept sustainable value creation which concern multiple, collective, and shared value. Therefore the main part of the lecture will be aimed to present the specificity of BM for social entrepreneurs with special reference to business model canvas.

Presentation 4: Social entrepreneurship in practice: from the Idea to the pitch

Speaker: Andrew Isaak 

Social ventures present unique challenges and are not created equal. To maximise social welfare, the social venture should strive to solve a larger social or ecological problem – in the words of Guy Kawasaki, to 'make meaning'. In the idea generation phase, a variety of individual and group techniques are presented and used to uncover insights and novel combinations of products and services. Best practice projects are presented to provide inspiration and valuable benchmarks to decide which ideas should be further pursued. To achieve scalability, the social entrepreneur has to ask him-/herself the question: would this idea make the world a better place? Given a positive response, competitor analysis and customer validation techniques are conducted to answer the follow-up question: what about customer acceptance? Finally, market positioning and investor presentations are discussed and the developed ideas are pitched by each group. 

Presentation 5: The responsible researcher - the approach of participatory action research (PAR)

Speaker: Gyorgy Malovics 

Some introductory thoughts on a few concepts related to sustainability: degrowth, capability approach; empowerment and transformation.

The aim of this presentation is not to focus on a specific research project but rather to provide an overview of research activities and related concepts used at the research centre at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Szeged. Thematically, these research activities are focused on local sustainability in line with the approach of ecological economics. An introduction is provided into those concepts which are most important for us to analyse and evaluate local sustainability issues. These include degrowth (as an alternative of modernist sustainability paradigms); the capability approach of Amartya Sen (as an alternative to utilitarian approaches to welfare and well-being); empowerment (as a key notion when thinking about the social pillar of sustainability); and transformation (a central notion in ecological economics in relation to both the environmental and social pillars of sustainability). After the theoretical introduction the potential utility of the earlier approaches and notions in evaluating local development projects and processes is demonstrated by introducing empirical research projects carried out in the research centre.


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