Online from: 2005
Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation
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Article citation: Robert Doherty, (2008) "Editorial", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 4 Iss: 3, pp. -
I am delighted to introduce to you the third issue of the Social Enterprise Journal (SEJ) published by Emerald publishers. Firstly I would like to thank the journal board, the selected reviewers and of course the authors for the papers enclosed. It is the aim of SEJ to play a key part in establishing Social Enterprise as a recognized sub-discipline by leading the theorisation of social enterprise and developing the international evidence base. This call for increased theorization was also a strong theme at this year’s Fifth Social Enterprise Research Conference (SERC) at London South Bank University (www.lsbu.ac.uk/bcim/cgcm/conferences/serc/2008/papers.shtml). In fact the first two papers in this third issue started out as conference presentations at the Fifth Social Enterprise Research conference (papers can be found at the above link).
The first paper from the SERC conference is authored by Dan van der Horst and looks at the role social enterprise (SE) activities can play in the development of the renewable energy (RE) sector in the UK. This is a key paper as environmental issues are relatively neglected in the academic literature on social enterprise and renewable energy is of great topical relevance.
The second paper from the SERC conference by Huybrechts and Defourny from the Centre for Social Economy at HEC-University of Liège Management School examines more deeply the link between Fair Trade Organisations and social enterprise, both at a conceptual and at an empirical level. This provides a more solid basis for the often implicit link between fair trade and SE. Divine Chocolate Ltd winner of last years Enterprise Solutions awards (www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/news/news_stories/071018_esa.aspx) as best social enterprise in the United Kingdom is an 100 per cent Fairtrade company with a social mission to “improve the livelihoods of small-scale cocoa farmers in West Africa”. The farmers co-operative Kuapa Kokoo based in Kumasi Ghana are joint owners in Divine Chocolate with a 45 per cent shareholding. This unique business model and its social mission is what makes Divine a social enterprise. The UK Fairtrade market is the largest in Europe at £490 worth in 2007 (FLO 2008), one of the key dynamics in this growth has been the development of Fairtrade brands by Fairtrade social enterprises (Nicholls and Opal, 2004). A number of these such as Cafedirect, Divine, Liberation (is a Community Interest Company) and Agrofair have all been incubated by the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) called Twin Trading (TWIN) who are based in London (www.twin.org.uk/) and who work with disadvantaged small-scale producers to develop market access. It is difficult to find another organisation in the global social economy who has been as successful at incubating new branded Fairtrade social enterprises as TWIN. This journal would welcome further research to investigate this success.
The third paper in this issue led by Jacques Defourny and Marthe Nyssens (eds.) with the collaboration of Carlo Borzaga, Laurent Fraisse, Giulia Galera, Ewa Les´, Anne Liveng, Victor Pestoff, Yohanan Stryjan and Flaviano Zandonai is based on a comparative analysis of the different institutions (legal frameworks, public policies, supporting structures, public procurement policies), which support the development of social enterprises in the different EU countries. Firstly, the authors synthesize the major evolutions experienced by social enterprises across Europe and the key challenges they are facing; in the second part, specific members of the EMES (EMES European Research Network) Network provide a more in-depth update as to current trends and debates in their respective countries. The international differences and similarities identified by the authors tend to reflect the different levels of social and economic development, in legal frameworks, in the nature of welfare systems and in the historical development of the social economy in different nation states. In summary, this paper makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Social Enterprise in Europe and the reasons for its current growth in most European territories. Peattie and Morley (2008) in the last issue of Social Enterprise Journal (Vol. 4 No. 2, p. 100) highlighted the need for more research work to identify international differences. This paper is one such welcome paper.
The fourth paper from North America by Lynch, Elliot and Brock provides an excellent teaching case study about a US rural non-profit venture, which developed a social enterprise to creatively address the isolation and lack of job opportunities that have been a persistent problem in rural Appalachia, particularly for women. The organization introduced a trade into the region, machine knitting, because of market opportunities, and built the infrastructure to support it; including a technical knitting apprenticeship, a distributed production network, a central finishing and distribution warehouse and a national marketing program.
The fifth paper by Miller and Rotheroe (corresponding author) uses both social capital and ethical theory to investigate the organisation called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their service delivery model. This excellent paper highlights some very useful lessons for the public sector and the wider policy community. This paper is of particular interest bearing in mind the call by Peattie and Morley (2008) in the last issue of Social Enterprise Journal (Vol. 4, No. 2, p. 100) for more in depth research at the public sector/social enterprise interface. They argue the current public sector procurement processes do not allow the full social and community value of social enterprises to be measured or considered.
There have been a number of recent major developments for those who are interested in the research landscape for social enterprise. In July of this year, the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Office of the Third Sector (OTS) and The Barrow Cadbury Trust, announced the University of Birmingham will lead a new Third Sector Research Centre dedicated to analysing the impact of the sector’s activities. This centre will receive a total joint investment of £10.25 million over the next five years. Its purpose is to conduct research and analysis to strengthen the evidence base for the entire third sector, including charities, social enterprises and small community organisations. Supporting the work of the Third Sector Research Centre will be two capacity building clusters (CBCs), one led by the University of Middlesex and one by the University of Lincoln, with the CBC in Middlesex focusing specifically on social enterprises. The CBCs will provide both the next generation of high quality researchers and be a resource for the sector. The clusters will provide activities such as studentships, knowledge transfer partnerships, third sector placements and an innovative voucher scheme designed to allow Third Sector organisations to “buy in” academic expertise. The Social Enterprise Capacity Building Cluster led by Fergus Lyon at Middlesex University is in fact a collaboration between London South Bank University and also Durham University. We look forward to hearing about their research work in future years.
Also Lisa Marie Dacanay associate professor at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), has spearheaded the setting up of an institute dedicated to building and enabling a critical mass of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises in the Asia region. This new initiative is called the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship Asia (ISEA). The aim of the ISEA is to be a major vehicle for pursuing social entrepreneurship research, training and education in the Philippines and other countries in Asia, partnering with academic institutions as needed. Founding members of ISEA include social enterprise resource institutions from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Singapore and Japan. The Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) envisions a critical mass of social and development entrepreneurs and enterprises making a difference for the poor and marginalized in the markets of Asia, and creating innovative pathways towards equitable and sustainable development.