Scaling up social enterprise: strategies from early years providers

Working Paper 79

This research examines ways that social enterprises can increase their scale and social impact, using case studies from the early years sector.

A traditional view has been for growth to occur through organisations expanding and setting up new sites. This paper examines a range of other alternatives for increasing social impact, ranging from maximising the impact internally (through new activities, and more sites) to growth beyond the confines of the organisation (through social franchises, use of kite marks, training and networks).

The research highlights that expanding a social enterprise is not the only way to increase its impact. Sharing knowledge and practice, for example, can help impacts reach a greater number of people.

The paper is based on an analysis of case studies in the early years sector supporting children and families. It asks: In what ways can social enterprises scale up their operations? What are the challenges entailed in these scaling up processes? The research offers a model to help organisations define strategies for scaling-up their social impact.

Research contacts
Fergus Lyon and Heather Fernandez