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Opportunity formation in social entrepreneurship

Steffen Korsgaard (Department of Management, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of opportunity and its role in social entrepreneurship processes.


The paper presents a single‐case study of a sustainable community in Denmark. The data include interviews, documents and television programmes.


The case study finds that the opportunity takes a number of different forms in the process. These different forms are the result of a continuous mobilisation of actors. On the basis of these findings a model of social entrepreneurship processes is proposed, where the process is driven by mobilisation and transformation.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the case provide support for a creation view of opportunities and the view that opportunity discovery does not necessarily precede resource mobilisation. The proposed model contributes to the development of the creation view of opportunities as an alternative to the discovery view and to understanding of the role of opportunities in the social entrepreneurship process.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that the social entrepreneur is one who actively creates external circumstances rather than responds to opportunities already present therein. This implies a focus on different skills and ways of thinking.


The paper presents a model of social entrepreneurship processes grounded in a deep understanding of an empirical setting. The findings and model question the value of the discovery view of opportunities in the field of social entrepreneurship, while contributing to the development of the creation view of opportunities.



Korsgaard, S. (2011), "Opportunity formation in social entrepreneurship", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 265-285.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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