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Social entrepreneurs as architects of community development in Cape Town : problems and prospects
Background and research problem: There have been claims in academic literature that social entrepreneurs, such as non-profit organisations and hybrid organisations that pursue social outcomes are architects or innovators of community development. However to date, there is no conclusive empirical evidence to support that claim. Main purpose of the study: The main purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the opportunities created by social entrepreneurs, as architects of community development, in communities they operate; identify the main challenges that the social entrepreneurs face and come up with recommendations of how social entrepreneurs can deal with these challenges. For the purpose of the study, the focus was on communities especially those ravaged by various social ills. Research methodology: A mixed method approach was adopted as the study was underpinned by two paradigms namely, positivist and interpretivist philosophies. The survey strategy was used in conducting the inquiry. Data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires which were self-administered to 150 community members selected randomly. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 respondents. Computer aided statistical method was used to analyse quantitative data while qualitative data was analysed using noncomputer aided thematic techniques. Main findings, conclusions and recommendations: The study found that the majority of social entrepreneurs studied have been making positive contributions to various aspects of community development. However, none of them has embraced the whole range of community development aspects that are needed for a holistic approach to comprehensive contribution. Reasons for failure to embrace a holistic approach include a lack of social entrepreneurship development framework, and various operational and political challenges. It is also important to mention that the research techniques used are not adequate to measure certain types of social impacts of the social entrepreneur's efforts. For these, additional social impact measuring techniques would need to be developed and employed.