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Social Entrepreneur 2018: Self-Portrait

This analytical report was prepared by Zircon Research Group in collaboration with Social Business Group, students of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Higher School of Economics (HSE), and the Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Studies of HSE. The study was based on a survey of 155 respondents and shows that the primary motivations of social entrepreneurs are a desire to translate a specific idea into action and a wish to achieve independence and self-sufficiency. Over a half of the participants of the survey (54%) said that one of their motivations for starting a social business was a desire to solve a specific problem which was of particular importance for their family or themselves.

When compared to the data of previous studies, the results of this survey demonstrate that personal development and self-actualization remain the leading motivations. Sociologists also note that the entrepreneurs’ desire to solve their own problems by starting a social business may indicate a high importance of family as a factor in the process of setting up one’s own business. Nearly a half of the respondents stated that one or more members of their family were also involved in their business. According to the authors, this may indicate that social entrepreneurship in Russia has strongly marked features of family business.

The study also shows that social entrepreneurs have unusual views on the purpose of running a company — they think that a business is more than just a source of profit. The majority of respondents think that a company must share the responsibility for solving burning social issues with the state authorities. Besides, many respondents believe that entrepreneurs must play an important role in developing their regions, and they agree with the statement that they must spend some of their profits on solving social problems. Sociologists observe that social entrepreneurs have to implement their notions of social responsibility while at the same time maintaining the sustainability of their business and solving the problems of their own families.

Comparing the results of this study with a similar one conducted in 2013 shows that the chief motivations and values of social entrepreneurs and their understanding of the main components of this hybrid activity remain unchanged. Besides, the results of the study highlight the necessity for further research and suggest that it might be advisable to monitor the state of social entrepreneurship in the country on a regular basis.

Analytics on the topic