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Social enterprises as supply-chain enablers for the poor

ManMohan S. Sodhi and Christopher S. Tang

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2011, vol. 45, issue 4, 146-153

Abstract: Many social enterprises use the poor as producers to improve their living standards. We seek to answer how they do so, from a supply chain perspective. Drawing on various successful social enterprises in Afghanistan, Africa, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines and Sri Lanka, we look at the material, information and cash flows of the micro-entrepreneurs for these social enterprises. We show how a social enterprise helps its associated micro-entrepreneurs by improving the latter's supply chain operations via: (1) easier access to financial credits; (2) easier access to market information; (3) easier market access; and (4) better access to supplies and raw materials and higher productivity through better health and equipment. We then speculate on how to make social enterprises economically sustainable and propose that social enterprises would be better off enabling micro-enterprises rather than running production operations themselves.

Keywords: Economic; sustainability; Bottom; of; Pyramid; Social; enterprise; Micro-entrepreneurs; Poor; as; producers; Entrepreneurship; Supply; chain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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