Final Conference: all deliverables available!


Thank you!

During two conference days we welcomed almost 200 (social) entrepreneurs, policy makers and academics. We would like to thank everybody for being there, for helping out and for adding their voice to the debate. Below you can find all necessary documents, videos, pictures and presentations to get inspired even more, or to relive your favourite moments of the conference.


You can find all conference photos in our Facebook album.


Click on the respective speakers to download the presentations in PDF format!


Testimonial presentations:

Library Corner

Click on the links to download the requested documents.

Person-Organization Fit and Incentives: A Casual Test

The Person in Social Entrepreneurship: A Systematic Review of Research on the Social Entrepreneurial Personality

Market-Oriented and Mission-Focused: Social Enterprises Around The Globe

Subliminal influence on generosity

Human capital in social and commercial entrepreneurship

Women's Entrepreneurship: Closing the gender gap in access to financial and other services and in social entrepreneurship

Resisting Temptation

Organizations Driving Positive Social Change: A Review and an Integrative Framework of Change Processes

On the compatibility of benevolence and self-interest: Philanthropy and entrepreneurial orientation

Women CEOs in social enterprises earn 29% less than their male counterparts

Institutions and social entrepreneurship: The role of institutional voids, institutional support, and institutional configurations

Policy Brief on Scaling the Impact of Social Enterprises

The welfare state and social entrepreneurship: Insights from a multi-level study of European regions

Women earn less than men even when they set the pay

To ask or not to ask? The power and pain of seeking feedback

A new apprenticeship for a new economic reality

Unltd Impact Report 2016

How corporates can engage with social entrepreneurs

How can social entrepeneurship break through?

Book launch: “Innovation and Scaling for Impact. How effective social enterprises do it” by Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair

Johanna Mair & Christian Seelos

During our first international SEFORÏS Conference in Birmingham, Prof. Johanna Mair, Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance, Academic Editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review and Scholar at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society gave a keynote on innovation processes,  scaling capacity and social impact of social enterprises.

The insights of over 10 years of research are now gathered in the new book “Innovation and Scaling for Impact. How effective social enterprises do it”, published by Stanford University Press and co-authored with Christian Seelos, Adjunct Professor at the Hertie School of Governance and a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.

The book draws on four in-depth case studies of social sector organizations that represent innovation archetypes. Issues such as learning processes in organizations, innovation pathologies and the relationship between achieving social impact, innovating and scaling are furthermore all highlighted and thoroughly discussed in the book.

A copy of the book can also be ordered online.

A more detailed overview of the book can be found here.

Post-event materials of the International SEFORÏS Conference in Birmingham available!

On 9 December 2016 SEFORÏS held an International Conference in collaboration with Aston University in Birmingham. The aim was to combine both research findings from SEFORÏS researchers and practical examples from social enterprises in Europe and China as a basis for discussion and future recommendations for policy makers. More than 75 social entrepreneurs, researchers and policy makers joined us, with lively discussions and debates as a result. The conference programme can be found once again via this link.

Our next, and final, conference is taking place on 16 and 17 March in Brussels! Save the date!

Downloadable Presentations

Introduction to SEFORÏS by Prof. Ute Stephan, Aston University, UK

Keynote by Professor Johanna Mair, Hertie School of Governance, Germany & Stanford University, USA: "Innovation and Scaling - How effective Social Entrepreneurs create Impact"

Presentation by Dr. Miriam Wolf, Hertie School of Governance, Germany: "Governance in Social Enterprises. Insights from SEFORÏS"

Presentation by Assoc. Prof. Chloé Le Coq, Stockholm School of Economics (SITE), Sweden: "Financing Social Enterprises. Insights from SEFORÏS"

Presentation by Dr. Alain Daou, KU Leuven, Belgium: "Innovation in Social Enterprises and Social Innovation. Insights from SEFORЇS"

Presentation by Dr. Marieke Huysentruyt, HEC Paris, France & Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden: "Scaling Impact in Social Enterprises. Insights from SEFORЇS"

Presentation by Dr. Emma Folmer, Aston University, UK: "Social Enterprises across Countries: More Similar than Different? Insights from SEFORЇS"


Check out the conference photos in our Facebook Album.

Video footage

All presentations, roundtable and discussions and debates have been recorded and can be found in one simple YouTube playlist below:

The 1st IESE-LUISS Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship

Hybrid Organisations: walking at the edge between economic performance and social & environmental impact

Hybrid Organisations: walking at the edge between economic performance and social & environmental impact

The 1st IESE-LUISS Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship
18-19 April 2017, Rome Italy 

This conference, possibly the first of a series, is aimed at gathering scholars from different literature streams interested in highlighting the mechanisms through which hybridity is created and sustained. To give more substance to the debate we asked key scholars in the field –among them Johanna MairAnne Claire PacheGuido PalazzoTommaso Ramus and Ute Stephan, who already accepted our invitation- to join us and present their work. To give more visibility to the research discussed at the conference, we proposed to the Journal of Business Ethics, one of the leading journals in the field, to create a Thematic Symposium on these themes linked to the conference.

This call for papers aims at generating a conference exploring how organisational hybridity is created and sustained, with particular reference to social enterprises. 

Call for papers! 
Submission deadline [EXTENDED]: 20/01/2017



EXCEPTIONAL SPEAKERS: Johanna Mair (SEFORÏS) , Anne Claire Pache, Guido Palazzo, Tommaso Ramus and Ute Stephan (SEFORÏS).

SPECIAL ISSUE: The Journal of Business Ethics will create a Thematic Symposium linked to the conference.

EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION OF YOUR WORK: Each paper will be allocated a large slot for presentation and Q&A. In each parallel session a discussant -asked to read the papers in advance- will give feedback. 

DEVELOPING SCHOLARSHIP: The conference hosts a Ph.D. and Early Career Symposium.

SEFORÏS at the 8th International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC) in Glasgow

Between September 5th and 7th 2016, Prof. Ute Stephan from Aston University (UK), Dr. Miriam Wolf and Alexandra Ioan from the Hertie School of Governance (Germany) attended the 8th International Social Innovation Research Conference in Glasgow and presented some first insights generated through the SEFORÏS project.

Prof. Ute Stephan gave a keynote speech (download here) on the role of social entrepreneurship in achieving social change. Going beyond discussing the internal challenges that social enterprises face, the talk focused more on the way in which these organizations have societal impact through their wide range of activities. Drawing on the existing knowledge from several research disciplines, Prof. Stephan focused on a framework for change that can be useful both for practitioners and researchers when discussing social impact.

SEFORÏS was represented also by Dr. Miriam Wolf and Alexandra Ioan who presented first research insights in the “Governance and stakeholders” conference stream. Dr. Wolf’s presentation concentrated around the topic of governance and the key role it plays for social enterprises both internally and externally, as they adapt to different contexts. Ms. Ioan’s presentation revolved around particular cases of social enterprises in Germany and the particularities of their development in this specific welfare system.

The ISIRC 2016 conference was a great occasion to open up some of the current debates around social innovation, social enterprises and their role in society. Some of these topics and many more will also be discussed at the SEFORÏS conference on December 9th, 2016 at Aston University, in Birmingham, UK. 

Is it possible for Social Enterprises to thrive post the UK elections?

With the dust of the UK national election beginning to settle, now is a good time to look ahead and explore the possible consequences of the new conservative government for the UK social enterprise sector.

With the dust of the UK national election beginning to settle, now is a good time to look ahead and explore the possible consequences of the new conservative government for the UK social enterprise sector. To appreciate these consequences, let us revisit 2010, when the rhetoric of 'The Big Society' played an important role in the electoral campaign of the Conservative Party. 'Big Society' was put forward largely as an alternative to government provided social services ('big government') and can be broken down into three courses of action: (1) an emphasis on volunteering, (2) the devolution of government power to local authorities and communities realized through the Localism Act (2012), and finally, (3) extensive support for voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. The third course of action led to the creation of the Big Society Bank (Big Society Capital) as well as the 'opening up' of public service delivery for social enterprises (via the Social Value Act (2012)[i]).

The second and the third course of action under The Big Society agenda were of particular interest for the social enterprise sector, but they proved difficult to realise simultaneously. The increased responsibilities for public service delivery devolved to local authorities coincided with significant spending cuts in autumn 2010 – aimed at reducing the public expenditure deficit by 2014. This meant cuts of government grants to local authorities by 23% to 46%[ii], leaving local authorities with increased responsibilities for public service delivery but fewer funds to live up to these responsibilities. The Localism Act was intended to encourage local authorities to be creative and innovative in delivering public services - with social enterprises in mind as potential commissioning partners1. However budget pressures meant that local authorities ended up commissioning to large private companies instead of 'experimenting' with alternative ways of service delivery. Any additional funds earmarked to support the social enterprise sector quickly fell victim to the spending cuts. As for Big Society Capital, a recent report[iii] suggests that despite its potential, it has not been functioning much differently than a regular bank, and that it still needs to prove its added value for the social enterprise sector.

The miraculous disappearance of social enterprise from the 'Big Society'? 

The Big Society occupied much less space in the 2015 conservative election campaign manifesto. Although the manifesto contained pledges to encourage volunteering, a continuing commitment to the implementation of Big Society Capital as well as to expanding the National Citizen Service – social enterprises were largely absent. The only mention of social enterprise was in relation to the Work Programme[iv], which it claimed had commissioned extensively to social enterprises and charities, increasing the profile of the sector. A closer look, however, reveals that the prime providers of the Work Programme have been large organisations, a significant share of which comes from the private sector and are owned by large international recruitment companies[v]. The current mode of public service delivery thus seems to be one of 'tried and trusted' partnerships with large corporations instead of experimentation and engagement with social enterprises. Further future spending cuts of £15bn to £20bn pledged by the new government[vi]are unlikely to encourage public service commissioners to diverge from this pathway.

With much of the Big Society rhetoric and additional support for the social enterprise sector gone from the political agenda, the overall outlook for the sector is rather bleak. 

Yet, there is potential for social enterprises to benefit from the commissioning of large government programmes if they are included in the supply chains of the prime providers –social enterprises can emphasize their competences in delivering social value. There are also opportunities for social enterprises to exploit their networks and bid for commissioning in consortia. In addition, local authorities can play an important role by commissioning smaller contracts to social enterprises, which typically operate in an embedded way in their local communities. However, with the projected spending cuts, local authorities are likely to need further incentives to include social enterprises in their procurement. An example is the Scottish Government's sustainable procurement duty implemented in its Procurement Act (2014). It obliges contracting authorities to consider how their procurement affects their local area economically, environmentally and socially. This duty explicitly promotes experimentation in public service delivery, includes third sector organizations and plays to the 'local strength' of social enterprises. A redesign of the Social Value act in line with the Scottish Procurement Act would arguably be an effective way of supporting social enterprises.

There are further reasons and ways of strengthening the social enterprise sector under the current government as part of the Big Society agenda – and importantly as part of regular enterprise, SME and innovation policy to spur economic growth.

This would allow the UK national economy to harness the strengths of the social enterprise sector - such as the high rates of radical innovation by social enterprises[vii] and the well-documented spillover effects of a thriving social enterprise sector on business start-ups[viii]. Last but not least, social enterprise has the potential to re-engage young people with economic issues. At Aston and internationally, we see rising student interest in social enterprise – often by students from majors and backgrounds who would typically outright dismiss entrepreneurship and business as career options for them. Our research finds that social enterprise is a way into business entrepreneurship especially for these groups.

Comments or thoughts? Get in touch with the authors and

[i] The Public Services (Social Value) Act (2012) intended to stimulate the commissioning of public services to organisations that created social value –it did not define social value and was not compulsory.

[ii] Institute for fiscal studies briefing note BN166,

[iii] The Report of the Alternative Commission on Social Investment:

[iv] The Work Programme is a UK-wide payment-for-results welfare-to-work programme launched in 2011.

[v] Work Programme: contract package area and prime providers

[vi] The Conservative Party manifesto 2015,

[vii] See e.g.,

[viii] Estrin, S., Mickiewicz, T., & Stephan, U. (2013). Entrepreneurship, Social Capital, and Institutions: Social and Commercial Entrepreneurship Across Nations. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(3), 479–504