How can collaboration between social enterprise and impact investment help mainstream sustainable development goals?
After the global economic meltdown, 2008-2009, impact investment (II) emerged as a mechanism that embeds blended value propositions (social, environmental and economic) to provide the capital needs of social enterprise (SE). Many see collaboration as the life blood of entrepreneurship, and likely to enhance partnerships between SE and II in mainstreaming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), because their activities centre on sustainable entrepreneurship, which aligns with the SDGs: in particular, the 17th SDG hinges on ‘partnerships for the attainment’ of goals 1-16. However, there is scepticism about the sustainability of the relationship between SE and II and this highlights the challenges for managing sustainable organisations. This paper focuses on the untapped knowledge of ‘collaborative entrepreneurship’ to explore how the pursuit of competing logics of social welfare and commercial value by SE and II can be managed to mainstream SDGs, despite potential ethical tension. Through qualitative document analysis, the paper explains how collaborative entrepreneurship can be applied to resolving tendencies for unsustainable relationships between SE and II organisations. It extends the collaborative entrepreneurship literature with insight from the paradoxical leadership mindset of ‘both/and’.
Keywords: Social enterprise, impact investment, collaboration, mission drift, competing logics, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)