Unit 3 – Social Enterprise Stakeholders and Impact Investment

This section will help you to acquire a broad knowledge about social enterprise stakeholders and social impact investment concepts and features. This module will assist the social innovator in, continuing to work through the various elements of the SBM canvas.

The present section will be structured through 3 sections enabling you to

• Understand the concept of stakeholders and their role and why social innovators should consider them (4.3.1) ( see also Mod. 5.2 and 5.3 which addresses scaling issues and network development)

• Have a general overview about the main features and actors involved in social impact investment (4.3.2)

• Explore in more detail the new, emerging form of hybrid enterprise involved in social business (4.3.3)

4.3.1: Stakeholders

Stakeholders are those individuals or groups who depend on an organisation to fulfil their own goals and on whom, in turn, the organisation depends.

There are many such stakeholders in a large organisation as outlined below and it is essential that social entrepreneurs know key stakeholders so that they can network with and communicate with them effectively:


Source: Adapted from R.E. Freeman, STrategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, Pitman, 1984 by R. Edward Freeman

Stakeholder mapping identifies stakeholder expectations and power and helps in understanding priority groups. The power/interest matrix below suggests a model whereby social entrepreneurs can consider those stakeholders who have an interest in their enterprise and whether they have the power to influence the enterprise (positively or negatively).

mappStakeholder mapping: the power/interest matrix. Source adapted from A. Mendelow, Proceedings of the second international Conference on Information Systems, Cambridge, MA, 1986

This section should be reviewed alongside Module 5 which highlights key networks, support groups and alternative funders for social entrepreneurs in partner countries.

4.3.2: Social Impact Investment

“Social Impact Investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return” (Ref: Global Impact Investing Network).

Through an accurate study of the Global impact investing network website you will acquire broad knowledge on the core characteristics of social impact investment, as well as an overview on key players on the area of impact investment.

For further information see the link below: where you can find a number of global examples of impact investment worldwide.


According to Confindustria, “..  Impact Finance meets the new needs that the welfare state doesn’t fulfil and those of a new form of hybrid enterprise in terms of resources and growth.

4.3.3: Hybrid Enterprises

The hybrid enterprise is an evolved  form of company born from the third sector which grows and is shaped in order to address opportunities in new social markets, and is structured  to approach the new markets while evolving from traditional profit-making sector.

This simple definition underlines the main characteristics of this form of enterprise: and more information is available in the document entitled “social enterprise: what is it”

Innovative social startups in social vocation pursue objectives which seek to achieve a common good and for this reason, they receive recognized benefits The link below provides an example: ShareTheMeal Selfie Video: Berlin-based social innovation startup

B-Corporations are for-profit company, which voluntarily complies with the highest standards in terms of purpose, accountability and transparency. B Corporations represent an emerging group of companies that are using the power of business to create a positive impact on the world and generate a shared and durable prosperity for all.