Social business as an entrepreneurship model in emerging economy

Md Mahfuz Ashraf (UNSW (University of New South Wales) Sydney, Australia)
Mohammed Abdur Razzaque (UNSW (University of New South Wales) Sydney, Australia)
Siaw-Teng Liaw (UNSW (University of New South Wales) Sydney, Australia)
Pradeep Kumar Ray (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA) (Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Shanghai, China)
Md Rashadul Hasan (Brainstorm Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 13 May 2019



Despite its immense potentials as a sustainable and innovative means to solve specific social problems, the basic concept of the social business model (SBM) advanced by Professor Muhammad Yunus remains unclear to many. There exists no literature that objectively compares this model from empowerment and economic growth perspectives with other seemingly similar concepts, such as social enterprise, non-governmental organization (NGO) and corporate social responsibility. Although many NGOs have been showing increasing interest towards the adoption of the SBM to minimize social problems sustainably, lack of conceptual clarity of the model limits the scope of its adoption in addressing social issues. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


This study is based on a systematic search, analysis and review of literature. It has made use of narrative synthesis of relevant literature on a diverse range of socially oriented models, frameworks and interventions.


This study identified five key aspects of social business, namely: business’s mission and outcomes, characteristics, operation, resource utilization and environmental considerations. Based on these five key aspects one may like to infer that unlike other social interventions, the alignment of SBM is specific to empowerment of disadvantaged people leading to sustainable economic growth. Analyzing a range of social business interventions in a developing country, Bangladesh, through the lens five key aspects demonstrates that social business is the most efficient way to sustainably maximize the social benefits and minimize specific social issues poverty of the people affected.


This study discusses the scopes of adopting SBM for the socially responsible organizations for sustainable empowerment and economic growth in emerging economies.



Mahfuz Ashraf, M., Razzaque, M., Liaw, S., Ray, P. and Hasan, M. (2019), "Social business as an entrepreneurship model in emerging economy", Management Decision, Vol. 57 No. 5, pp. 1145-1161.

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