Intermediaries and social entrepreneurship identity: implications for business model innovation

Maribel Guerrero, Carlos Santamaría-Velasco, Raj Mahto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


The authors propose a theoretical basis for understanding the role of ecosystem intermediaries in the configuration of social entrepreneurship identities in social purpose organisations (SPOs) and their business model innovations (BMIs).

Adopting a retrospective multiple-case study, the authors offer insights into the paths/elements that determine the building of 44 social entrepreneurship identities in the context of an emerging economy (Mexico).

The study sheds light on the role of intermediaries in the configuration of the entrepreneurial identities of Mexican SPOs and BMIs, as well as several externalities generated during the process of capturing the social and economic value, especially when social innovations are focussed on solving societal, economic and ecological social problems.

Research limitations/implications:
The first limitation is related to the analysis of intermediaries within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem, which needs more conceptual and empirical evidence. The second limitation is that the analysis focussed only on intervened SPOs, as the authors did not control for non-intervened SPOs. Thus, this allows for future in-depth analysis of intermediary efficiency in a focus group (intervened SPOs) and a control group (non-intervened SPOs).

Practical implications:
The study also provides insights for Mexican SPOs on how a social entrepreneurship identity helps to capture the value creation of social innovations within an innovation ecosystem. Indeed, it is strongly aligned with the United Nations' Social Development Goals.

The study enhances the discussion about how intermediaries could encourage social entrepreneurial identity, as well as how intermediary intervention could facilitate the design and implementation of BMIs in the innovation ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-546
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2020


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