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Social entrepreneurship and SDGs: case studies from northeast Nigeria

Fardeen Dodo (Department of Management Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)
Lukman Raimi (School of Business and Economics, University of Brunei Darussalam, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam)
Edward Bala Rajah (School of Information Technology and Computing, American University of Nigeria, Yola, Nigeria)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 7 December 2021


Case synopsis

The use of entrepreneurship to deliver profound social impact is a much-needed but poorly understood concept. While social enterprises are generally well understood, there is a considerable need to have a more common approach to measuring the different ways they create social value for us as well as to reduce the difficulties of starting and growing them in the difficult conditions of developing countries. In the northeast of Nigeria, for example, the mammoth challenge of rebuilding communities in an unfavorable entrepreneurship environment makes the need for a solution even more urgent. This case study illustrates a model of promoting entrepreneurship that advances the conditions of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in local communities using a configuration of the key theories of social impact entrepreneurship (variants of entrepreneurship with blended value or mission orientation, including social entrepreneurship, sustainable entrepreneurship and institutional entrepreneurship). The extent to which ventures can adjust and improve the extent of their contributions to the SDGs are shown using examples of three entrepreneurs at different stages of growth. From this case study, students will be able to understand how entrepreneurs can identify and exploit social impact opportunities in the venture’s business model, within the network of primary stakeholders as well as in the wider institutional environment with the support of Impact+, a simple impact measurement praxis.

Learning objectives

The case study envisions training students how to hardwire social impact focus in the venture’s business model (social entrepreneurship), how to run ventures with minimal harm to the environment and greatest benefit to stakeholders (sustainable entrepreneurship) and how to contribute to improving the institutional environment for social purpose entrepreneurship (institutional entrepreneurship).

At the end of learning this case study, students should be able to: 1. discover an effective model for a startup social venture; 2. explore options for managing a venture sustainably and helping stakeholders out of poverty; and 3. identify ways to contribute to improving the institutional environment for social impact entrepreneurs.

Social implications

For students, this case will help in educating them on a pragmatic approach to designing social impact ventures – one that calibrates where they are on well-differentiated scales.

For business schools, entrepreneurial development institutions and policymakers, this case study can help them learn how to target entrepreneurial development for specific development outcomes.

Complexity academic level

The case study is preferably for early-stage postgraduate students (MSc or MBA).

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.



American University of Nigeria (AUN) and AUN Center for Entrepreneurship for the enabling this work and providing training resources.Eberly Foundation in the United States, for donating the remainder of a previous grant, which is being used for Impact+ Women programme.The Tony Elumelu Foundation and International Committee of the Red Cross, for funding at 3 entrepreneurs that have passed through our Impact+ Programme.Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Dodo, F., Raimi, L. and Rajah, E.B. (2021), "Social entrepreneurship and SDGs: case studies from northeast Nigeria", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 11 No. 4.



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