Researching social innovation


Since Muhammad Yunus became Nobel Peace Laureate in 2006, the idea of social entrepreneurship has received a wave of attention from different actors. The development sector appreciates this new approach as a promising alternative to unsuccessful concepts in the past. Financial organizations are interested in satisfying new customer demands – especially those of high net-worth individuals – by adding a social bottom line to their investment products. And for many in the “Generation Y” social entrepreneurship seems to be a path to find a meaningful job in a highly agile and attractive industry. Yet, social entrepreneurship continues being a controversial concept. Important questions remain: How are financial returns compatible with social returns? What is social entrepreneurship good at? Which public goods should the state provide and which the private sector?

At Zeppelin University research is a key component to undergraduate education. Our individual research project represents one pillar of our Humboldt Journey. My goal is to understand how the provision of public goods is organized in emerging markets. I want to focus on social entrepreneurship and the support mechanisms of social investors. After all, I am eager to make an academic contribution to understanding poverty and the ways to fight it. Being in Cape Town will hopefully make this possible.