Learning and Capabilities Development - Case Studies of East African Social Enterprises
It has been recognised that social enterprises are a key part of the enterprise landscape in developing countries. It has also been recently recognised that firm capabilities, both tangible and intangible, help businesses to survive and thrive in developing countries. What is less understood is how these capabilities are developed in either for-profit firms or social enterprises. To answer this question, this study explored learning and capabilities development in five East African social enterprises participating in an accelerator programme. The paper finds that the coaching element and learning from peers element of the accelerator was extremely important to complement and allow absorption of learning from the taught modules. The paper finds that participation in the acceleration led to improvement in capabilities in both “hard” business-oriented skills that allowed social entrepreneurs to understand the gaps in their business and also more “soft” skills including improved vision and improved resilience of the enterprises. The findings have implications for theory, policy, and further research.