Embracing Hybridity: A Business Model Innovation for Sustainable Social Enterprises

Praveen Balakrishnan Nair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Unlike commercial enterprises, social enterprises are required to generate both social and economic value. Hence, the sustainability of social enterprises must be considered from a dual perspective: generating and sustaining the envisioned social impact and sustain financially over time to make the social impact continuous. Prioritising social objectives over financial endurance can be suicidal as it may jeopardise the long-term financial viability of the enterprise. Hence, both business and social impact dimensions are to be given equal weightage and incorporated into the enterprise business model, considering the frictions that may exist during their co-existence and finding ways to balance both in long term. The paper starts with an analysis of various dimensions and interpretations of social enterprises followed by a review of literature on business models. The need of innovating the conventional business models used by commercial enterprises to suit social enterprises are then discussed and a business model canvas for social enterprises is proposed, suiting the dual objectives of the enterprise. The paper concludes with the case of a social enterprise, set up for the upliftment of urban poor, to illustrate the application of the proposed social business model canvas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1600-1617
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Business and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2022


  • Business model
  • Business model canvas
  • Business model innovation
  • Financial sustainability
  • Social enterprises
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Social impact
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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