chapter  3
16 Pages

From fragility to resilience: Social enterprise at the nexus of conflict and development in Africa


SE, in the broadest sense, involves employing business principles to create social value. Performance and sustainability in these enterprises typically include a double-or triple-bottom-line (TBL) approach that measures financial, social, and environmental performance (Elkington, 1994). This is described as the ‘social value proposition’, meaning that benchmarking and performance metrics are concerned with tracking social returns on investment, or SROI, which are considered to be just as, if not more, important than monetary returns on investment. One prominent example of this business model is the Grameen Bank, which offers no-collateral microcredit to the very poor. It uses a non-loss, non-dividend business model and is currently the most profitable banking system in the world. Another helpful framework is the Benefit Corporation, or B-Corp, model, which enshrines particular values (e.g. environmental sustainability, fair wages, non-exploitative labour practices, etc.) into the value proposition of the company. In the United States, the social value proposition of these companies is sustained through B-Corp legislation. This movement is growing, with a number of efforts underway to bring the B-Corp model into law in other countries.