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Impact of Social Enterprises in Nigeria on Social and Economic Growth

Info: 7397 words (30 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

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Tagged: BusinessEconomics


This report reviews the progress made so far on the research topic ‘Social enterprise: An emerging phenomenon in Nigeria, impact on social and economic growth’. Nigeria as an emerging economy is still at the early stages of the development of the social enterprise sector. Although the sector is still evolving, the possible impact on social and economic growth seems to be underemphasized. Furthermore, investment in the social enterprise sector in Nigeria is minimal and almost non-existent. (Idemudia 2012, Janelle 2009).

In the view of Idemudia (2012), Janelle (2009) the impact of social enterprise can be enhanced by investment in the sector, also by policies that promote and encourage the development of the sector. Janelle (2009) further observed that there has being minimal emphasis and investment in this sector in Nigeria, and lack of deliberate policies that can propagate social enterprises development. This was corroborated by Odinkalu (2017) with evidence that suggests that the Nigerian government is proposing policies that may further impede investment in the social enterprise sector. Odinkalu (2017) further cautioned that policy is enacted, it will militarise the civil space and make it impossible for equality and inclusion matters to thrive.

The strength of an economy lies in its Government’s ability to enact policies and invest in diverse sectors that can boost social and economic growth. (Idemudia 2012) The assumed reluctance of the Nigerian Government in investing in other sectors could be attributed to dependence on crude oil sale for over four decades. (Idemudia 2012, Odulari 2008)

Crude oil sale was the main stay of the Nigerian economy for over four decades. The discovery of oil in the late 1960s which was named ‘The oil boom era’ transformed the economic outlook of Nigeria and contributed immensely to the GDP which grew to an annual revenue of over N10billion as at 1980 (Ezeah, 2012, Watts 2007) furthermore, becoming the fourth largest oil producing nation in the world resulted in gross negligence of other sectors that can potentially increase the livelihood and boost economic growth (Izuchukwu 2011). The fall in the price of crude oil which started early 2014 (Paraskova 2016, The Economist (2014) seems to be a wake- up call for the nation to re-evaluate alternative revenue sources and seek for ways to mitigate the growing social and economic challenges. According to Erebi 2013 encouraging a diversified economy could be a pathway to mitigating these challenges.

Nigeria as a developing economy is faced with crucial social, environmental and economic challenges (Idemudia 2012, Adenikinju 2005). Embedded in the centre of these challenges are the sprouting and growing efforts of social enterprise to forestall social and economic issues in Nigeria (Tutu 2013, Kerlin 2009, Moses and Olakundun 2014). Encouraging the social enterprise sector can be pivotal in gaining social and economic growth. (Moses and Olakundun 2014, Austin et al., 2006, Ashoka 2005).

According to (Chell (2007) and Ashoka (2005) social enterprise has been essential in driving social and economic change for many years in both developed and developing economies. The growth of social enterprise in some developed economies such as the USA and some parts of Europe was triggered by a wavering economy. The creative ability and strength of social enterprise is showcased and further enhanced where there are social, economic or environmental need or challenges (Kerlin 2009).

The staggering Nigeria economy has necessitated a review of diverse alternatives of revenue and solution to address the pending and growing social, environmental and economic challenges (Erebi 2013, World Bank 2013). Thus, this study seeks to understand the social enterprise space in Nigeria and to ascertain if social enterprise can have an impact on social and economic growth.

According to Vanclay et al. (2015) impact of social enterprise should be validated using impact assessment matrix, and not on assumption based on social mission of the social enterprise. This research is crucial at this time of economic downturn in Nigeria and growing social and economic challenges; to investigate the impact or lack of impact that social enterprise can make towards social and economic development and growth.

Additionally, the purpose of this research is to contribute to the body of knowledge by bringing to the fore possible impact or lack of impact of social enterprise in social and economic growth in Nigeria. It is hoped that the evidence generated from this research will contribute to the data required by policy makers in Nigeria to influence decisions and policies that will boost and foster socio- economic growth, also survey data will be relevant for the practice of social enterprise. The data from this survey will be shared with the network of social enterprises in Nigeria.

Furthermore, in the cause of this preliminary work, it became apparent that there is minimal literature in social enterprises in Nigeria, hence this work will be contributing to the existing gap in the social enterprise sector in Nigeria.

Research Aim

The aim of this research is to examine how social enterprises are making impact on the Socio-economic growth of the Nigerian Economy.

Research Objectives

In order to achieve the aim, the following objectives have been identified:

  • To investigate the emergence of social enterprise in Nigeria.
  • To assess the possible impact of social enterprise on socio-economic change.
  • To explore if the emergence of social enterprise is sustainable within the Nigerian context.
  • To compare social enterprise in Nigeria and other developing countries
  • To understand how to improve such impact if it exists.

This research will seek to address the following questions:

  • How is social enterprise contributing to social and economic change in Nigeria?
  • Has this phenomenon come to stay?


Although social enterprise is a growing phenomenon in Nigeria, awareness of social enterprise activities seems to be on the rise and more social entrepreneurs are inspiring change across Africa including Nigeria. (Sloan 2013). However, there is minimal scholarly research in the area of impact of social enterprise on social and economic growth in Nigeria (Tutu 2012; Janelle 2009).

In recent years, a few scholarly investigation have looked into areas such as corporate social responsibility in the oil sector (Ameashi et al. 2006; Babalola 2006).  Involvement of multinational corporations in development of infrastructure in Nigeria such as water provision. (Nwankwo, E., Phillips, N. & Tracey, P. J Bus Ethics (2007). Despite all these, the study on the impact of social enterprise in Nigeria remains vague and un-investigated. The lack of clearly articulated structure and policies governing the social enterprise development in Nigeria has also posed a challenge to existing studies on the subject. This prevailing gap in the study of social enterprise in Nigeria inspired this research.

According to Yinus (2005) validating if/how social enterprises are making social and economic impact can give credence to investments made in this sector and propel further investment. Janelle, 2009; Galera et al (2009) while citing John (2000) suggested that more study is required to investigate and understand the relevance of social enterprise in Nigeria.

Additionally, studies over the last two decades are highlighting the need for impact assessment of social enterprise globally. The impact assessment of initiatives by social enterprises in relation to the social and environmental benefit they provide is attracting academic discussions and hence encouraging more research on the subject especially in developed economies such as the U.K and USA. (Grameen foundation 2014; Tracy et al.2005). According to Vanclay et al. (2015), social impact assessment is critical for assessing and managing social enterprise projects and giving credence to work done by social enterprises.

In the view of Epstein et al. (2014) to attain relevance and sustainability of social enterprise in a developing economy such as Nigeria, impact analysis is inevitable. Thus, it is acceptable to argue in line with. (Janelle 2009; Tutu 2013) that though the emergence of social enterprise in Nigeria is geared towards socio-economic transformation, the impact assessment is inconsistent and vague thereby creating a gap in its practice. This study seeks investigate further, the socio-economic impact social enterprise in the economic growth of Nigeria. If this exist and how such impact can be sustained? More so a study on possible impact of social enterprise in Nigeria could encourage more players.






This research is informed by existing literature on social enterprise both in developed and in developing economies. Investigating the social enterprise phenomenon in Nigeria and how preceding studies have discussed the impact of social enterprise in relation to the social and economic growth of Nigeria. This study is further driven by current gaps in analysing impact of social enterprise in Nigeria

Social Enterprise as a Concept

The concept of social initiative is not new as different economies have been involved in social activities and aid since the early 1900s. However, the term ‘Social enterprise’ is a recent description. (Grant 2003 as cited by Mason et al. 2006).

The definitions of social enterprise range from broad to narrow depending on the economy in which it is practised. Difference may exist in practise and characteristics because what is applicable in a developed economy may vary in a developing economy but there are similarities of purpose which resonates on social benefit (Kerlin 2009; Dess and Anderson 2003)

As it stands, Nigeria does not seem to have a clear legal definition of social enterprise as is a similar situation in other economies, though justifiable, more study needs to be done to validate assumptions on the social enterprise trend in Nigeria and how it relates to social and economic growth (Tutu 2013).

Figure 1: Definitions of social enterprise

Authors Year Definition of Social Enterprise
Brouard and Larivet 2010 The goal of a social enterprise is to create social value irrespective of the internal ownership or governing structure, finance and sustainability process, creative and innovation styles and social transformation.
Williams, K’nife, 2012 In the view of Williams, K’nife the core activity of a social enterprise is to build social worth especially where the traditional institutions cannot provide such social benefit to improve the lives of the poor.
Alter 2006 “A social enterprise is any business venture created for a social

purpose—mitigating/reducing a social problem or a market

failure—and to generate social value while operating with the

financial discipline, innovation and determination of a private

Sector business.”

Defourny and

Nyssens – EMES


2006 “Organizations with an explicit aim to benefit the community,

Initiated by a group of citizens and in which the material interest of capital investors is subject to limits. Social enterprises also place a high value on the autonomy and on economic risk-taking related to ongoing socio-economic activity.”


Dess and Anderson



Organisations that are profit driven with social benefit
 Chell 2007 Most enterprises indirectly carry out social and economic impact hence can be viewed as providing social value and thus are social enterprises
Short et al. 2009 Social enterprise is any organisations whose core drive is social goal.


Source: Author


Definition of Social Enterprise Adopted for Current Study

The definitions above are not exhaustive but rather tried to be inclusive of the broad and narrow definitions of social enterprise. A prevalent factor unpinning most of these definitions are the social value that social enterprises are meant to achieve regardless of the type of social enterprise ranging from not for profit to profit making ventures. For the purposes of this report, the researcher will be leaning on the definitions of social enterprise from scholars that focus on social enterprise as organisations that provide both the social and entrepreneurship impact also known as ‘Hybrid social enterprise’. According to Battilana and Lee (2014), Martin and Osberg (2007). Hybrid social enterprises must combine charity and business ideologies as the fundamental aim of the organisation. Hybrid social enterprises are characterised by dual mission which comprises of social goal and financial sustainability Doherty et al 2014.

The table below depicts the characteristics of Hybris social enterprise.

Figure 2: s

The justification for selection hybrid social enterprise for the study is further emphasised by the aim of the research, looking at possible impact on social and economic growth of Nigeria. The aim of understanding the impact on economic growth reinforces the type pf social enterprise that the study will focus on, such as social enterprise that can evidence both social and economic impact.


The beginning of contemporary Social enterprise in the United States can be traced to the late 1970s (Janelle 2010; Crimmins and Keil 1983). Social enterprise in the USA has evolved from just organisations depending on aid to provide social value to diverse organisations including for profit organisations with social value (Kerlin 2006). The revolution in the USA social enterprise space began increasing when different organisations started infusing creative and innovative ideas into revenue generation as well as providing social value. This came about given the government cut back on the financial support they had hitherto enjoyed and utilised for services (Kerlin 2006).

The perception of Social enterprise started in some parts of Europe in 1990 through the third sector. Italy was one of the countries that pioneered the emergence and growth of social enterprise in Europe in 1991. The Italian Government enacted a law that gave credence to social enterprise and propelled the growth of co-operatives at the time (Defourny et al. 2008).

In Australia, some key factors such as the social, cultural and political experience of Australia as a nation are dominant in the perception of social enterprise. A wide range of organisations that boost social inclusion are classified as social enterprise regardless of the sector they fall under (Borzaga et al. 2004). As earlier highlighted, the cultural background of Australia has some effect on the description of social enterprise in that economy. Organisations such as run childcare services, social economic enterprises, associations that participate in social services, self-governed employment initiatives, sheltered workshops amongst others, are part of the social inclusion (Borzaga et al. 2004).

According to Alter (2007) and Defourny et al (2008) though as early as the mid-1800s in the United Kingdom, cooperatives existed that encouraged socio and economic benefit. The use of the word ‘social enterprise’ in the United Kingdom became more eminent in the 1990s from the third sector, right in between government and the private sector.

Even though there are not specific laws that are directly linked to social enterprise in the UK since the growth of the notion beginning in the 1990s, social enterprise has been obtainable in developmental issues and political discussions for many years in the UK. The Government has provided support that encouraged the growth of social enterprise in the UK. Case in point is the sponsor of the social enterprise unit and also funding the programme for emerging health social enterprise (Defourny et al. 2008). In addition, some other initiatives by the government shows involvement and interest in the growth of the sector, the political drive to encourage capacity development of Voluntary and community sector (VCO) is a keen interest of the government (Defourny et al 2008).

Social enterprise in developing economy such as Bangladesh started in the mid-1970s. Poverty, unemployment issues, and a bad economy drove the pioneering of social enterprise. One of the fore runners of social enterprise in Bangladesh is Professor Muhammad Yunus. In 1976 Muhammad Yunus started a research into the likelihood of providing micro finance banking services to the poor in the rural areas of Bangladesh in other to eradicate the exploitation of the poor by money investors. In addition, Mohammed Yunus strategy was to create opportunities that will enable a lot of people from the rural areas, especially women of Bangladesh, become self-employed and entrepreneurs (Alter 2007). The ideas and concept of the micro finance banking named Grameen bank project by Muhammad Yunus to support the rural areas and women in becoming self -sufficient revolutionised social enterprise not just in Bangladesh but had a global impact (Alter 2007). The Grameen Bank project recorded huge success and expansion and hence through a government law was converted into an independent bank in 1983 (Alter 2007). The Grameen bank initiative has grown to include other social enterprise initiatives such Grameen Telecom, Grameen Shakti and Grameen Knitwear Ltd (Yunus 2010).

Social enterprise in Zimbabwe and Zambia were driven by a deteriorated economy hampered by the high rate of unemployment. In a bid to address the poor economic situation, international non-governmental agencies (NGOs) and donor agencies began to invest in micro-credit for small business (Masendeke et al. 2009; Kerlin 2010). However, sustainability of the social enterprise was a major challenge in Zimbabwe and Zambia. This trend is obtainable in scenarios where policies that can boost social enterprise are lacking. The challenge faced by social enterprises in Zimbabwe and Zambia are not peculiar to these two countries.

In Cameroun, poverty and socio economic needs and gaps gave way to the rise of social enterprise. Although the Cameroun experience is similar to most developing countries, bilateral and multilateral agencies were responsible for infusing funds into the economy that supported and encouraged social capital and a ‘financial maintainable paradigm’ though empowering women in micro finance (Konings 2004).

Poverty creates an economic vacuum and hence the support of international donor agencies towards economic empowerment and job creation. Despite the notion that the issue of sustainability has always been a cause for concern about social enterprise in Cameroun Konings (2004), it is also applicable in many countries that practise social enterprise and depend mainly on charity and donations to operate.


Social enterprise in Nigeria is still emerging Tutu (2013), hence a unified definition remains a paradox. The history of social enterprise in Nigeria dates back to the late 1950s. According to Kerlin (2009), communities in the Northern part of Nigeria were the first to embrace the cooperative law that set in motion the start of social enterprises. Communities in the northern part of Nigeria started cooperatives that assisted residents with financial and social support. These ventures made some impact for a period of time, until corruption and politics crept into the management of the cooperatives leading to the demise of the cooperatives (Kerlin 2009). In recent years especially in the last two decades the concept of social enterprise is beginning to gain momentum and come to the fore as a means of addressing social needs in Nigeria (Babalola 2012; Tutu 2013)

As is the case with most developing countries, part of social enterprise emergence in Nigeria was propelled by social needs. Furthermore, requisite intervention and support from international NGOs and donor agencies created a platform for social enterprise to grow (Babalola 2012).

There are many NGOs in Nigeria that focus on addressing social needs. The NGOs are both local and international based, also international development agencies focused on driving social change within the communities they operate. A key concern of social enterprise is sustainability, and this is a common factor with social enterprise that depend on external funding to operate, (Doherty et al. 2006 and Edgington 2011) ironically many social enterprise in Nigeria fall under this category.

The Government of Nigeria in 1997 under the Agenda 21 by the United Nations (UN) presented a proposed policy on poverty alleviation. The thrust of which was to empower underserved and vulnerable communities especially women and youth economically via a sustainable and comprehensive programme on poverty alleviation (UN 1997), sustainable development amongst others. Although the proposed policy was initially presented by the Nigerian Government in 1992, a review of progress by the UN in 1997 did not evidence much progress (UN 1997) in the alleviation of poverty and sustainable development which one of the key drivers for the policy.


The underpinning drive of social enterprises is social benefit regardless of the type of social enterprise or the context in which the social enterprise operates. (Brouard and Larivet 2010, Williams, K’nife 2012, Dess and Anderson 2003) Some studies suggest that social enterprises are pivotal in addressing social change in some economies through creative and innovative ideas. ( Defourny and Nyssens 2010, Alter 2006, Short et al 2009). The emergence and growth of social enterprise in the USA gives credence to this argument. The rise of social enterprise played a vital role in resuscitating the US fluttering economy at the time. (Kerlin 2006). Additionally, the creative and innovative ideas introduced by social enterprise sector in creating social value helped boost the American economy (Kerlin 2006). This notion supports the argument that social enterprise can have an impact on social-economic growth.

A survey of the U.K population showed that about 6.6 percent of the adult population are involved in one act of social enterprise or the other. (Harding 2004). The evidence from the Harding study also looked at job creation in the social enterprise sector in the U.K including income stream. Table below shows the revenue from all the different social enterprise income stream.

Another study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) of 58 economies in 2015 indicate that an average of 32% of the adult population aged 18 to 64 are actively involved in social enterprise activities in the economies. (Bosma et al 2015). Furthermore, a study by GEM showed a result of 150,000 adults in 49 countries involved in community, environmental and social activities and making impact through social enterprises. (Terjesen et al 2012). The social and environmental challenges that are being addressed in these communities informed the study of the social enterprises.

The GEM study further gives credence to the impact of social enterprise in these economies. However, the study cautioned on the need for social enterprises to begin to engage more in impact measurement and assessment.

Scholars such as Vanclay et al. (2015) and Lepoutre et al. (2011) have argued that without impact assessment of social enterprise, there will not be evidence to ascertain if indeed social enterprises are meeting the primary aim of social benefit/change.

Additionally, over the last two decades a re-occurring theme in the social enterprise space is impact measurement or assessment. (Bosma et al 2015) There has been more agitation for social enterprises to begin to demonstrate social impact in their activities. (Reynolds et al., 2005, Lepoutre et al., 2013,  Ebrahim and Rangan 2010, Lepoutre et al., 2011, Bosma et al 2015, N., Schøtt, T., Terjesen, S.A. and Kew, P., 2016) One of the need for social enterprises to evidence impact can be attributed to the need for sustainability of mission or goal of the social enterprise. A survey by Bosma et al (2015) revealed that a lot of social enterprises remain as start- ups with lofty ideas which most times are unattainable. Also, sustainability tends to be a common challenge of most of the social enterprises surveyed. In view of this, Bosma et al (2015) suggests that measurement tools are imperative to check progress made by social entrepreneurs towards achieving organisation mission.

Edginton (2011) corroborated the argument that sustainability of social enterprises seems to be a challenge as most social enterprises lack innovative approach and the ethical framework for revenue generation to support their mission. Edginton (2011) further recommended impact measurement as a way of assessing impact of social enterprise.

According to Yinus (2005), further study is required to ascertain whether or not social enterprises are making the requisite impact on socio–economic growth. In line with evidencing impact of work done by social enterprises and to encourage investors in the sector, proponents of social enterprise such as the Grameen foundation (2014) introduced an impact assessment tool to measure social impact. Although the Grameen impact assessment tool is still at its infancy, it is used in developed economies such as the US and some parts of Europe. (Grameen Foundation 2014)

In the view of Ebrahim and Rangan (2010) considering the diverse practise of social enterprise in different economies, a generic measurement tool cannot be applicable across board as some impact measurement framework might require long-term approach while others might be short term driven. Hence, Ebrahim and Rangan (2010) recommends that impact assessment should be influenced by the peculiarity of the social enterprise.

Based on previous research, there are indicators that further study is essential to investigate more on impact of social enterprise globally and in Nigeria. According to Tutu 2013, Nigeria is at the forefront of the growth of social enterprise in Africa and hence needs to champion the course on showcasing the impact that social enterprise can have on economic growth.


Wilson (2013) defines business research as the unprejudiced and systematic way by which data is collected, examined and understood. Whereas research methodology describes the use of methods analytically through the duration of a research process. (Wilson 2013) Additionally, cautious and intense focus is given to ethical concerns (Saunders et al 2009). Subsequently, considerations should be given to important research elements such as philosophy, approach, design and data collection and strategy when deciding the research methodology to use for a research. (Wilson 2013)

Research Philosophy/Approach

The interpretivist philosophical stance is proposed for this study. The study views the interpretivist stance as adequate as it will provide interesting new insights to the concept of social enterprise in Nigeria. This is because the concept of social enterprise in Nigeria is still emerging and yet complex therefore requires both collaborative and participatory approach to better understand. (Wilson 2013) Furthermore, the inductive approach is proposed, using an inductive approach with enable the researcher gain better understanding of the research concept whilst using qualitative method to collect data and develop theory as a result of the data analysis. (Wilson 2013)

Research methodology/Strategy

Qualitative method of research ….. whereas some other scholars will argue that using qualitative method for research can………..

Justification for Qualitative Method and Case Study Approach

Research method should be consistent with research aim and objectives. According to Bryman 2008 the research methodology of any research should focus on addressing the research questions, aim and objectives. To address the stipulated aim and objectives of this research, the qualitative method of research will be adopted using semi-structured interviews as the tool for primary data collection.

The semi structured interviews will be with key decisions makers, pioneers and CEOs of Hybrid social enterprises in Nigeria. The decision to interview key decision makers and pioneers of Hybrid social enterprise is informed by the quality of data that is required for the research. The decision makers will understand the structure and framework of the organisation and thus most suitable for the semi structured interview. Semi structured interview is suitable for gathering reliable and valid data (Saunders et al 2009) and hence is proposed for this research. Another justification for using semi structured interview is that it seeks to answer questions that emphasis how social experience is shaped and understood. (Wilson 2013). Additionally, semi structured interview guides and allows the interviewee to give an in depth feedback to interview questions. (JA Smith 2015)

The indicative data collected from the interview will be presented using a multiple case study approach. Case studies are becoming more prominent method of presenting qualitative data in social enterprise research. (Short et al 2009). Case studies answer the question of ‘How’ or ‘Why’. (Robert K. Yin 2013) and gives more insight and in depth understanding of the social enterprises to be reviewed. The researcher chooses to align with the case studies approach as the aim of this study is to investigate how social enterprises are making social and economic impact in Nigeria; and case studies will evidence holistic experiences of Hybrid social enterprises in Nigeria.

Diagram below by Short et al 2009 is about articles published globally on social entrepreneurship. The study shows that out of 72 research in social entrepreneurship investigated, 54 of the studies were done using qualitative method and of the 54 qualitative method studies, 43 (60%) was based on case studies.


In conclusion, proposed study in line with the researcher’s philosophical stance, proposes mixed method as it is best suitable for the research because the mixed method offers a perspective of social and behavioural research by combining both quantitative and qualitative methods and also gives credence to the strengths in quantitative and qualitative research methods. (Johnson et al. (2007). Again mixed method research will create the in depth knowledge required for the research with access to a spectrum of data.

Limitations of semi structured interview and mitigations.

One of the limitations of semi structured interviews is access to the right respondents especially when the respondent required for the interview is a very senior or high ranking person. Given the busy schedules of managers or CEOs, scheduling a convenient time for interviews can be challenging and sometimes daunting for the interviewer. According to Harrell and Bradley 2009 having a gatekeeper who can facilitate access to the respondent can be very helpful. Furthermore, considering out of work hours as an option for scheduling interviews might be helpful, as most senior personnel seem to be more relaxed and willing to have discussions after regular work hours. Harrell and Bradley 2009 further recommends that interviewer has to be creative on when and how they send information to respondents, sometimes calling after work hours or using a recognised paid delivery service to deliver letters could get the attention of the respondent.

The researcher also experienced some challenges in the course of a pilot data collection process and this has informed a review of approach for the next stage of the research and also how to go about the semi structured interviews.


Progressively, researchers in behavioural and social studies are using qualitative method as this offers inductive view to research. (Taylor et al 2015). This study will source data using primary and secondary sources. The primary data source will focus on semi structured interviews with key decision makers in Hybrid social enterprises. Another data instrument will be content analysis based on secondary data from relevant websites, annual reports, journal articles, news and relevant publications of the Hybrid social enterprises to be interviewed. Additionally, secondary data from relevant sources will be used to develop a comprehensive literature review.

Data Analysis

For data analysis, the data collected via semi structured interviews will be analysed using thematic analysis. As mentioned by Boyatzis (1998) thematic analysis is the method of encoding qualitative information or data. Themes will be generated based on research questions and the data from the interviews, afterwards the themes will then be analyzed using Nvivo.

According to Hsieh and Shannon 2005 content analysis is used to interpret meaning from the content of text from secondary data collected from websites, journals, social media platforms and annual reports. Content analysis of the hybrid social enterprise to be interviewed will be collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics


This research journey has been an intriguing one and learning process so far. I started my research journey in February 2016 with a research topic that I am passionate about ‘Social Enterprise: An emerging phenomenon in Nigeria, impact on social –economic growth’. My topic has not changed, however, in the course of my learning curve I have had to make some modifications and changes to the initial concept and approach that I set out with. Table below highlights the modifications that have been made on the research.

Research area modified/changed What is was initially(Feb 2016) Modification/Change Reason for Modification/Change
Methodology The initial methodology proposed for this research was a mixed method approach The current methodology is qualitative method. The change was influenced by the

This methodology will be more suitable in addressing the research objectives

Sample size The initial scope of the research was social enterprises in Nigeria The proposed scope is looking at social enterprises that focus on both social value and entrepreneurship benefit. This review was informed by the large scope and diverse types of social enterprises that exist in Nigeria, looking at a segment will enable the researcher have a more in -depth study of the area of research.
Modification of research objectives There was an additional objective to initial set of objectives To compare social enterprise in Nigeria and other developing countries To gain more insight to the social enterprise phenomenon and the impact in both developed and developing economies
Research approach Mixed method with questionnaires and semi-structured interviews Case study research Case study approach will be used for the research. The reasons are:

  1. This will address the existing gap of limited literature by looking at the existing social enterprise
  2. The case studies will provide more insight to the structure and impact of social enterprise in Nigeria

The module one process was an eye opener and also the feedback I got after the module one review informed some of the modifications and changes that has been applied to the research.

In the course of the module one interactions, the researcher gained knowledge on academic writing and critiquing literature. This knowledge has informed the researcher’s approach to the study and improved on literature review.

I had a break in my research work for about four months when my initial supervisor left the University. However, I had a good transition in November 2016 when I was assigned a new supervisory team with Prof. Heather Fulford as my principal supervisor. The outstanding guidance and support I have received has influenced my research work and helped me with my pilot study and a re-evaluation of my methodology.

The initial methodology I set out with was the mixed method approach but with the guidance of my supervisor, I had to look at the methodology that will be suitable for the research objectives, also considering the existing gap in literature especially in Nigeria, the lack of framework for social enterprises in Nigeria was also a consideration in selecting the approach and methodology. My revised methodology is qualitative method using semi structured interviews and case studies for the study.

Level of research objectives achieved

Objectives Work done so far
To investigate the emergence of social enterprise in Nigeria
  • The researcher has looked at the history and emergence of social enterprise in Nigeria and the re-emergence in Nigeria.
  • The researcher has also looked at the policies and laws governing social enterprise in Nigeria and how such policies can directly or indirectly impact on the development of social enterprise in Nigeria
  • More work still to be done
To explore if the emergence of social enterprise is sustainable within the Nigerian context.
  • The researcher has done some literature review on the emergence of social enterprise.
  • More evidence will be gathered during the data collection stage
  • Literature review on-going
To assess the possible impact of social enterprise on socio-economic change.
  • A review of existing literature on impact of social enterprises in diverse economies
  • A pilot study was carried out with 2 social enterprises in Nigeria as a pre-cursor to the main research
  • Literature review on-going
  • Data collection process proposed
To compare social enterprise in Nigeria and other developing countries A comparative analysis was done on developed and developing economies.

Researcher will still do more study in this area.

To understand how to improve such impact if it exists Data collection stage will help address this objective.

Pilot Data Collection

I embarked on a pilot data collection in June 2017 with an initial aim of interviewing 4 hybrid social enterprises in Nigeria. I successfully conducted only 2 interviews with two pioneers of two hybrid social enterprises. Despite the planning I put in place before the trip, assess to respondents was a challenge. Three months before I travelled for the pilot data collection, I had sent out emails and contacted the organisations and got confirmation for interviews. In spite of the preparations, I still experienced disappointments from 2 of the organisations I had proposed to interview. Some of the challenges I faced in the course of the pilot data collection process have informed a review of my approach in engaging in with respondents in the future and I have also revised the questions I initially set out with.

Difficulties encountered in pilot study and proposed mitigation

Difficulties encountered in

Pilot study and Lessons learned

   Mitigation plan
Identifying Hybrid Social Enterprises in Nigeria- Given the lack of a comprehensive database with the required information, finding social enterprises that fall into this category was a challenge The researcher was able to network during an European Union (EU) forum on social entrepreneurs in Nigeria and as a participant was able to identify some hybrid social enterprises in Nigeria
Access to senior officers, chief executive officers or pioneers of social enterprise proved very difficult. Despite the prior notice and several reminders Identifying a gatekeeper (someone who knows and has access to the respondent) can be helpful in gaining access to the respondent.
Several meetings were cancelled as the respondents had busy schedules and were not available for planned times. The interviewer has to be flexible and willing to conduct interviews after regular work hours if the need arises. Sometimes the senior personnel who are the respondents are more assessable after regular work hours
Ethical issues are critical for interviews. Pre-informing respondents that the interview will be recorded Assuring respondents of confidentiality and anonymity prior to interview is essential and also informing them that interview will be recorded beforehand makes them prepared and ready.
Some of the respondents hardly responded to emails or even bothered to return calls Again using a gatekeeper or contacting them through a network helped mitigate this challenge. Sending email based on a concern or area of interest to the social enterprise created the needed assess.

The data collected from the pilot survey has been transcribed


Ethical issues


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