To read this content please select one of the options below:

Social enterprise self-employment programs: A two-dimensional human capital investment strategy

Rasheda L. Weaver (Department of Public Policy and Administration, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden, USA)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 3 May 2016




The purpose of this paper is to introduce social enterprise self-employment programs (SEPs) as a two-dimensional human capital investment strategy that can potentially advance economic development.


SEPs are frequently utilized as a tool for increasing economic self-sufficiency in poor communities. Literature discussing the use of commercial enterprise SEPs to increase economic development highlights the potential for creatingthe similar programs geared toward creating social enterprises. Human capital theory is used to illustrate how social enterprise SEPs can foster human capital, a predictor of economic growth and development. Examples of existing social enterprise SEPs are discussed to highlight how they can be designed. Cases of human capital-oriented social enterprises are also used to outline different business forms social enterprise SEPs can help create.


This general review paper suggests that social enterprise SEPs can be a sound two-dimensional human capital investment strategy. It argues that social enterprise SEPs can train aspiring social entrepreneurs to create businesses than subsequently foster human capital in their local communities.

Research limitations/implications

This paper introduces the concept of social enterprise SEPs, opening up a new area of research for scholars to explore. Researchers should examine participant and organizational factors of existing social enterprise SEPs to assess their impact, as literature has linked them to success rates of commercial SEPs.

Practical implications

This paper emphasizes the need for SEPs to offer task-related training as opposed to general business training to prepare social entrepreneurs in effort to run successful social enterprises.


The concept of social enterprise SEPs is new, and literature pertaining to it is scarce. This paper introduces them as a tool for attending to community problems while equipping future generations of social entrepreneurs with the skills to create social enterprises.



Weaver, R.L. (2016), "Social enterprise self-employment programs: A two-dimensional human capital investment strategy", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 4-20.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles