This paper aims to explore the reasons behind individuals’ motivational drivers to start social enterprises in Nigeria and their persistence in the entrepreneurial process. By presenting an emergent model, the paper aims to provide more understanding on why certain individuals devote their efforts in addressing nagging issues and tackling longstanding inefficiencies in communities and societies.
An inductive study, which draws upon qualitative data (interviews and archival data) of social entrepreneurs and people surrounding them, was conducted.
The findings show that local conditions such as widespread ignorance and unscientific beliefs together with the individual’s intentional mindset are contributing factors, which explain engagement in starting a social enterprise. It is further suggested that the combination of local conditions and intentional mindset, in turn, triggers the individuals’ passion for a cause that is facilitated by the support provided from their social network, which both seem to be important for maintaining persistence in the oftentimes challenging situation of being a social entrepreneur.
This study makes two significant contributions to the literature of social entrepreneurship. First, the study presents an emergent model that introduces specific empirically grounded reasons toward individuals’ drives and motives for starting and persisting in social entrepreneurship. Second, the study adds to the development of literature by highlighting the importance of contextual factors when studying social entrepreneurship and also provides explanations for the significant role of passion for social entrepreneurial activities.
The author would like to thank all the entrepreneurs and people around them who have generously shared their life stories: they all contributed to enable this study. The author also wants to express appreciation to Sara Thorgren and Joakim Wincent for their support and assistance in improving this piece. Portions of this research were funded by the Swedish Research Council and the VINNOVA Centre for Interorganisational Innovation Research (CiiR).
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited