Early-stage social ventures : resource acquisition, CEO selection, and impact investors
In this dissertation, I explore early-stage social ventures' resource acquisition, the first CEO selection, as well as how funding foundations supporting early-stage social ventures overcome challenges emerge from the economic crisis. Social ventures are organizations established by social entrepreneurs who seek to create social impact by providing systematic and sustainable solutions. They pursue the integration of social mission and economic goal in organizations' core, thus are distinguished from both commercial organizations and nonprofits. Successful acquisition of seed capital and the first CEO selection are crucial milestones for social ventures to survive and flourish. The proposed model in Chapter 2 suggested factors of social ventures that affect impact investor's eventual investment decision. It explicates how characteristics of a core founder, a founding team, and a social venture relate to each other and contribute to the increasing possibility of seed capital acquisition. Chapter 3 of this dissertation examines the first CEO selection of social venture. I empirically tested hypotheses using a dataset of 261 social entrepreneurs from 108 social ventures and found that previous working experience in social mission-oriented organizations is crucial for being assigned as the first CEO. Additionally, previous working experience in commercial firms contributes to only female social entrepreneurs' possibility of becoming the first CEO. In Chapter 4, I shift the focus to impact investors and explore the survival strategy of a funding foundation, Echoing Green, in response to financial challenges during the economic downturn in 2008.
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