Strategies for scaling up social enterprise: lessons from early years providers

Lyon, Fergus ORCID logoORCID: and Fernandez, Heather (2012) Strategies for scaling up social enterprise: lessons from early years providers. Social Enterprise Journal, 8 (1) . pp. 63-77. ISSN 1750-8614 [Article] (doi:10.1108/17508611211226593)


Purpose - This paper examines the strategies social enterprises can use to scale up their impact. A traditional view has been for growth to occur through expanding operations or setting up new sites owned by a single organisation. However, a range of other strategies of scaling impact outside of organisational boundaries are explored.

Design/methodology/approach - The paper is based on an analysis of one detailed and three less intensive case studies of social enterprises in the early years sector supporting children and families. These were selected purposefully to represent a cross section of types of organisation. In the detailed case study, interviews were conducted with 10 nursery managers, four of the senior management team and other key stakeholders.

Findings - This paper examines alternatives for scaling up social impact ranging from maximising the impact internally (through new activities, and more sites) to growth beyond the confines of the organisation (through social franchises, use of kite marks, training and networks).

Originality/value - The paper proposes a framework to help define the strategies by which organisations can scale up their social impact. The potential impact grows when considering scaling though partnerships, relationships and dissemination of ideas, but with this increase in scale, there is a loss of control by the original innovator. The research is of value to organisations wanting to scale up and for policy makers wanting to identify suitable strategies for encouraging growth and replication.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 8831
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2012 05:55
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:24

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