Social innovation in South Africa: building inclusive economies?

Adelaide Sheik, Deidre van Rooyen, Micaela Mazzei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
225 Downloads (Pure)


Social innovation (SI) acknowledges socio-economic challenges as opportunities to make communities more sustainable and cohesive through inclusive grassroots practices. The question remains, however, as to whether and how socially innovative practices can be effectively supported in developing inclusive economies. Drawing on the findings from two South African in-depth case studies, this paper aims to discuss how social innovation ventures may be supported to drive inclusiveness.

This paper purposively sampled two social enterprises (SEs) and conducted in-depth case studies through interviews and secondary data review.

The SEs selected promoted digital, economic and social inclusion. Despite the diversity of the two organisations, they shared similar challenges in undertaking their practices mostly deriving from South Africa’s lack of legal recognition and policy framework for social purpose-driven businesses.

Applying Moulaert et al.’s (2007) SI classification criteria to the case studies in focus, this paper seeks to extend our understanding of the challenges that innovative SE organisations face in tackling exclusion and contributing to build inclusive economies in the South African context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Enterprise Journal
Issue number1
Early online date13 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2023


  • social innovation
  • inclusive economy
  • social enterprise
  • challenges
  • South African context

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Sociology and Political Science


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