Theme E: Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship seeks to create new viable trading organizations that create value through addressing social problems.  Social entrepreneurs view sustainability problems as market failures that can be addressed through innovative ways of combining resources.  Social entrepreneurship has become a global phenomenon with new enterprises focused on solving a wide range of issues such as housing, conflict minerals, access to finance and access to natural resources.

Our research center is located in Rotterdam: a thriving city of social entrepreneurs.  Our studies seek to understand how do social enterprises emerge engaging with theoretical frameworks such as effectuation theory.

Executive fellow Marcello Palazzi has over 30 years experience with social entrepreneurship and is co-founder of the Progressio Foundation, which has led led 300 projects ( in 33 countries.  Marcello launched B Corp (B for Benefit) in Europe and continues to make it into a global movement of "best-for-the-world" corporations.

Dr. Ona Akemu graduated in February 2017 with his dissertation entitled “Corporate Responses to Social Issues: Essays in Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility”.

Key Publications

  • Akemu, O, Whiteman, G.M. & Kennedy, S.P. (2016) Social enterprise emergence from social movement activism: The Fairphone Case. Journal of Management Studies, 53 (5), 846-877. doi: