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The sustainability of social enterprises : how hybrid businesses can improve society while also becoming financially independent

by Modern, Thomas


Given that financial constraints often stifle the impact of nonprofits, some social organizations have started to incorporate commercial aspects to avoid financial dependence. Such social enterprises innovatively combat global problems by fusing market-based strategies and philanthropic structures. Although its potential is uncontested, the social enterprise field is still relatively young and, to date, few hybrid companies have been effectively scaled. Specifically, social businesses face the unique challenge of operating in an interim sector with limited infrastructure development. This thesis investigates the sustainability of social enterprises by isolating specific variables associated with organizational success. This dissertation empirically tests for the correlation between financial health and access to leverage, use of a market-based strategy, board size, inclusion of women on the board, and business background of board members. This research also draws from interviews with prominent social entrepreneurs to elaborate on additional factors related to sustainability, such as strategic allocation of value to stakeholders, transparency of vision, brand development, and the organizational structure of the company. Overall, this thesis finds that board size is inversely correlated with financial success and demonstrates how cause-driven businesses can utilize stakeholder research to develop a competitive advantage.



Bachelor of Arts

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes


Copyright restrictions apply.
Colorado College
Digital Origin
born digital
97 pages . : illustrations (some color)
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Laux, Judy
Department of Economics and Business
Degree Name
Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued