Today the whole world is embraced by harsh problems than ever in the history of mankind. People are suffering due to many kinds of social and environmental issues; climate changes, environmental pollution, natural disasters, diseases, poverty, crime, corruption, economic crises etc. Mankind has to provide innovative and sustainable solutions since they are the root causes to occur such as disasters to the world. To solve these harsh problems, social entrepreneurs have a big role to play. They are the change agents who combine change and innovations and they should possess the behavioural intention to start social enterprises. However, as per the preliminary findings, Sri Lankan entrepreneurs do not intend to start social enterprises or convert their existing businesses into social enterprises. Accordingly, the current study was dedicated to investigating the impact of the determinants on low social entrepreneurial intention (SEI) of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs which was proved by the preliminary findings. Further, the study investigated the significance of SEI in Sri Lanka. The study was conducted as a quantitative study and the deductive approach was used. Mair and Noboa’s model (2006) adopted by Hockerts (2015) was used with five latent constructs; prior Experience with social problems/social organizations, social entrepreneurial self-efficacy, empathy, moral obligation and perceived presence of social support. Out of 1,800 Registered entrepreneurs in Ratnapura District to the date, 317 entrepreneurs were selected as the sample based on Krejcie and Morgan (1970) table. Convenience sampling technique was deployed, and data collection was done through a questionnaire survey. Structural equation modelling was performed to analyse the variable interested with the assistance of AMOS 16 and SPSS 21. Social entrepreneurial self-efficacy and moral obligation were not validated and analysis was done by using the rest of the three variables. Analysis results indicated that the empathy, prior experience and perceived presence of social support have a direct positive impact towards SEI. Empathy and perceived presence of social support are the partial mediators of the model which significantly affect the relationship exist between prior experience and social entrepreneurial intention. Hence, it is concluded that both the partial mediators create mechanisms for prior experience to impact the SEI rather than individual impacts.
Keywords: Social Entrepreneurial Intention, Empathy, Prior Experience and Perceived Presence of Social Support