Call for Cases & Competition: Social Enterprise in Africa

Call for papers for: Emerging Markets Case Studies


Emerald Group Publishing is delighted to welcome quality case submissions to the Emerging Markets Case Studies collection for cases on social enterprise in Africa.

Submission deadline: 10th November 2020

Guest Editors: 

  • Dr. Alex Bignotti, Senior Lecturer, Unit for Social Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria 
  • Mohamed Farhoud, Research Fellow, Unit for Social Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria
  • Kerryn Krige, Chief Technical Advisor, International Labour Organization.

EMCS Editor-in-Chief: Professor Michael Goldman, University of San Francisco & Adjunct Faculty at the Gordon Institute of Business Science


Social enterprises are highly embedded in their context; hence, social enterpriseactivities and practices vary greatly across contexts (Rivera-Santos, Holt, Littlewood, & Kolk, 2015). These differences stem from contrasting forces—political, social, society, institutional, historical, spatial, and temporal dimensions—that exist in the external environment. For example, the activities and business models change following the country of origin (Bacq & Janssen, 2011; Dees & Battle-Anderson, 2006; Defourny, 2014; Defourny & Nyssens, 2008; Defourny & Nyssens, 2010; Karanda & Toledano, 2012; Kerlin, 2006; 2010); the religion (Ramadani et al., 2017; Yan, 2012); and the political, legal and economic environment (Margiono, Zolin, & Chang, 2017; Partzsch & Ziegler, 2011; Peattie & Morley,  2008; Ridley-Duff, 2016). This explains why the definitions of social entrepreneurship tend to vary between regions in terms of understanding, use, context, and policy (Kerlin, 2006; Nicholls, 2006; Poon, 2011). As such, social entrepreneurial activities are not unitary actors as they depend on the space-time context and vary across geography and communities (Dufays, 2017; Ebrahim, Battilana, & Mair. 2014; Kerlin, 2010; Seelos, Mair, Battilana, & Dacin, 2011). However, little is known about how the social economy, social enterprises and social entrepreneurial activities work in emerging, developing-market or fragile-state contexts, including Africa—where potentially they have the highest impact because of the depth of market failure (Karanda & Toledano, 2012; Urban, 2015).

Following this context-based, contingency view of social entrepreneurship, we call on contributions that illustrate how social entrepreneurial activities originate, unfold and develop in Africa contexts. This special case collection aims to contribute towards addressing the gap in knowledge and theory about social entrepreneurship within and across the African countries (Bacq & Janssen, 2011; Littlewood & Holt, 2015a; Littlewood & Holt, 2015b; Rivera-Santos, Holt, Littlewood, & Kolk, 2015). We invite teaching case studies that address social entrepreneurship, the social economy, and social ventures. We encourage contributors to share learning experiences from the social enterprises, co-operatives, mutual associations and voluntary societies that they interact with and to frame the case studies in a country context and around the SDGs in order to give them traction in classrooms.

We suggest the following focus areas for the case studies (although this list is not exhaustive):

  • Community-based or oriented models of social entrepreneurship, including co-creation practices with beneficiaries
  • The meaning and development of social innovation
  • The meaning of social value and social impact and social impact measurement practices
  • Solutions and/or models for the funding of social entrepreneurial activities
  • How legal and policy institutions adapt to include or incentivise social enterprises
  • Scaling issues and considerations (e.g. what is the “right” scale size in different African contexts?)
  • The nexus between social entrepreneurial activities and the informal sector
  • The interlinkages between social entrepreneurial activities and the SDGs (possibly multiple SDGs)

Submissions are welcome for publication in a special issue to be published in 2021. 

Submission guidelines

Completed case studies and teaching notes must follow the Emerging Markets Case Studies collection author guidelines (which can be found here) and be submitted by 10th November 2020. Additional guidelines on case writing are available on the Emerald Cases Learning Hub, found here

To submit your case, first create an author account here and then follow the on-screen guidance which takes you through the submission process. Please select the ‘Social enterprise in Africa’ option when prompted to choose from issue options. If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the EMCS Publisher Gabi Rundle at [email protected]

All cases will be double-blind peer-reviewed before acceptance and all cases published in EMCS are eligible for an author payment of £100 in addition to the prize fund mentioned below.


1. All authors will be offered ANSES (African Network of Social Entrepreneurship Scholars) membership. The benefits of the membership are:

  • attending research workshops, featuring research collaboration sessions and professional development workshops;
  • membership in an African scholarly network with the opportunity to develop linkages and collaborations;
  • exposure to social entrepreneurship scholarly work originating from or focussing on Africa through membership directory.
  • Opportunity to apply for funding for editing manuscripts to be published in top-tier journals.

2. All accepted cases will be offered a free language editing service.

3. A panel of judges will select the 10 best cases. The winner will receive a prize of $1,500, the runner-up will be receive a prize of $1,300, and the 3rd-place case will receive a prize of $1,100. The next 7 best cases will be sponsored for EMES memberships (EMES is the largest European social entrepreneurship scholarly network).

Enquiries should be directed to the special issue editors: Dr. Alex Bignotti ([email protected]), Mohamed Farhoud ([email protected]), and Kerryn Krige ([email protected]). 


  • Bacq, S., & Janssen, F. (2011). The multiple faces of social entrepreneurship: A review of definitional issues based on geographical and thematic criteria. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 23(5-6), 373-403. doi:10.1080/08985626.2011.577242
  • Dees, J. G., & Battle-Anderson, B. (2006). Framing a theory of social entrepreneurship building on two schools of practice and thoughts. Research on Social Entrepreneurship: Understanding and Contributing to an Emerging Field, 1(3)
  • Defourny, J. (2014). From third sector to social enterprise: A European research trajectory. From third sector to social enterprise (pp. 1-28)
  • Defourny, J., & Nyssens, M. (2008). Social enterprise in Europe: Recent trends and developments. Social Enterprise Journal, 4(3), 202-228. 
  • Defourny, J., & Nyssens, M. (2010). Conceptions of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in Europe and the United States: Convergences and divergences. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 32-53. 
  • Dufays, F. (2017). Embeddedness as a facilitator for sustainable entrepreneurship. Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, 57-72. 
  • Ebrahim, A., Battilana, J., & Mair, J. (2014). The governance of social enterprises. Research in Organizational Behavior, 34, 81-100. 
  • Karanda, C., & Toledano, N. (2012). Social entrepreneurship in South Africa: A different narrative for a different context. Social Enterprise Journal, 8(3), 201-215. 
  • Kerlin, J. A. (2006). Social enterprise in the United States and Europe: Understanding and learning from the differences. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 17(3), 247-263. 
  • Kerlin, J. A. (2010). A comparative analysis of the global emergence of social enterprise. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 21(2), 162-179. 
  • Littlewood, D., & Holt, D. (2015a). Social enterprise in South Africa. The International Comparative Social Enterprise Models
  • Littlewood, D., & Holt, D. (2015b). Social entrepreneurship in South Africa: Exploring the influence of environment. Business & Society, 57(3), 525-561. 
  • Margiono, A., Zolin, R., Zolin, R., Chang, A., & Chang, A. (2017). A typology of social venture business model configurations. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.
  • Nicholls, A. (2006). Social entrepreneurship: New models of sustainable social change. OUP Oxford.
  • Partzsch, L., & Ziegler, R. (2011). Social entrepreneurs as change agents: A case study on power and authority in the water sector. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 11(1), 63-83. 
  • Peattie, K., & Morley, A. S. (2008). Social enterprises: Diversity and dynamics, contexts and contributions. Social Enterprise Coalition and Economic and Social Research Council
  • Poon, D. (2011). The emergence and development of social enterprise sectors. Working Paper. Social impact research experience (SIRE). Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Ramadani, V., Dana, L., Gërguri-Rashiti, S., & Ratten, V. (2017). Entrepreneurship and management in an Islamic context (1. Ed.). Cham: Springer Verlag. 
  • Ridley-Duff, R. (2016). Understanding social enterprise (2. Ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE. 
  • Rivera-Santos, M., Holt, D., Littlewood, D., & Kolk, A. (2015). Social entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(1), 72-91. 
  • Seelos, C., Mair, J., Battilana, J., & Dacin, M. (2011). The embeddedness of social entrepreneurship: Understanding variation across local communities.33, 333-363. 
  • Urban, B. (2015). An exploratory study on outcomes of social enterprises in South Africa. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 23(2), 271-297.
  • Yan, H. (2012). Social entrepreneurship of the Buddhist Tzu chi movement. American Journal of Entrepreneurship, 5(1), 37.