Networks and the idea-fruition process of female social entrepreneurs in South Africa

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet



This paper aims to contribute to the lack of research on female social entrepreneurs and their social and contextual embeddedness, promoting women’s social entrepreneurial activity as promising, specifically in the South African context.

By analyzing the founding process and networks of 11 female social entrepreneurs in South Africa using a mixed-method approach consisting of semi-structured interviews, media analysis and egocentric network analysis, this paper seeks to discover the idea-fruition process of female social entrepreneurs. This approach enables us to analyze contextual factors with a focus on personal networks and their influence on the processes of idea-generation and development.

The results indicate that social networks are an important part of the personal context which influences the idea-fruition process of female social entrepreneurs. The paper identifies specific actors as well as group outcomes as particular relevant within this context.
Research limitations/implications

While the results enable the generation of a structure based on the authors’ first insights into how social relational networks influence female social entrepreneurship, it remains unclear if these results can be specifically traced to women or social entrepreneurial aspects, which suggests that further attention is needed in future studies.
Practical implications

Practical implications can be derived from the results concerning the support of female social entrepreneurs by, for example, optimizing or using their (social entrepreneurial) environment. Contrary to studies on business idea-generation, the results stress that women can make use of certain network constructions that are often considered to be obstructive.

This study introduces an innovative gender perspective on social entrepreneurship in South Africa and offers new directions for future research on the opportunity recognition process of female social entrepreneurs.
ZeitschriftSocial Enterprise Journal
Seiten (von - bis)429-449
Anzahl der Seiten21
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 05.12.2018