Impact investing and beyond: mapping support to social enterprises in emerging markets

Research reports and studies
July 2013
Shelagh Whitley, Emily Darko and Grace Howells

This full report and corresponding executive summary explores the range of support to social enterprises in emerging markets.

There is a lot of excitement about the potential for social enterprise to deliver innovative solutions to development problems, and anecdotal evidence indicates that there is increasing support to social enterprises in emerging markets. This support is coming from a wide range of actors including donors, commercial banks, foundations, investment funds, and NGOs. However, there is a lack of comprehensive data on the scale and range of support. Having such data could allow investments to target underrepresented geographies and sectors and help establish opportunities, overcome gaps and identify the need for more detailed research and analysis.

With support from the Shell Foundation, ODI undertook a study to see if it was both feasible and useful to compile data on the range of support to social enterprises in emerging markets.

The study revealed three main findings:

1.     it is possible to collect and present useful information on support to social enterprises in emerging markets,

2.     from our small pilot survey we identified over US$500 million in direct and indirect support to social enterprises, and

3.     stakeholders would value the development of a regular survey to capture the full range of support.

As a next step, ODI is seeking funding and partners to develop an annual survey that would collect comprehensive information on support to social enterprises, thereby facilitating investment, collaboration, and further research in this field.

The research is presented as a full report and an accompanying executive summary. A blog has also been published on Next Billion.