In Research


Year: 2019
Published in: International Social Work
Cited as: Chandra, Y., & Shang, L. (2019). Social entrepreneurship interventions in the HIV/AIDS sector: A social entrepreneurship–social work perspective. International Social Work.


Despite the growing interest in social entrepreneurship research in the social work literature, very little research examines how social entrepreneurs tackle social work challenges in the HIV/AIDS sector. Consequently, we lack research on how social entrepreneurship might contribute to social work’s domain of healthcare. In this article, we employ grounded theory research to study how a group of social entrepreneurs (N = 58) selected as Fellows by Ashoka, one of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurship support organizations, solve HIV/AIDS problems. This article identifies four major interventions that social entrepreneurs employed in tackling HIV/AIDS problems: relational, service, economic, and policy. We analyzed these four primary interventions and classified them into a typology based on (1) locus of change (institutional-oriented or macro social work vs agent-oriented or micro social work), (2) resources used (material/utilitarian vs symbolic/normative), and (3) client–social enterprise relations (client as recipient vs client as co-creator). This article contributes to social work research by demonstrating the possibility of integrating multilevel (e.g. micro and macro) and multidimensional (e.g. service, economic, and policy) interventions in addressing HIV/AIDS problems. It also suggests avenues for future research to lessen the gap between social work and social entrepreneurship research so as to advance social work research.


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Future Research

1) explore about how social entrepreneurs and social workers can work together to improve the current interventions and to devise new ones. This would enable researchers to compare the effectiveness of SE interventions when
performed solely by SEs versus by social workers versus those that involve a partnership between SEs and social workers.
2) lessen the gap between SW and SE research so as to advance SW research amid the growing complexity of social problems and the increasing need to create workable solutions and sustainable impacts that each field alonecannot solve sufficiently. Thus, future research could examine the strategies employed by social entrepreneurs working in HIV/AIDS-related problems in other settings (e.g., Echoing Green, L3C social enterprises) and non-affiliated SEs and in the ‘developed’ world since most of Ashoka’s.
3) include larger samples and also surveys to test the efficacy of the SE strategies identified here.
4) explore the economic, technology and new clinical/therapy approaches adopted by SEs working in the in the HIV/AIDS to understand their efficacy compared to existing approaches.
5) look into how business practices and social interventions of SEs are possibly impacting upon clients and provide a better linkage between SE interventions and potential implications to disadvantaged population. HIV/AIDS to understand their efficacy compared to existing approaches.