Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Innovations, Challenges, and Impact (Submit Online)

Guest Editors:

Dr Muhammad Shabbir

York St John University, UK

Dr Arshad Mahmood

European Sustainable Research Outreach, Germany

Introduction and Background:

In recent years, social entrepreneurship has appeared as an effective approach for tackling global issues and bringing about constructive change (Herlina et al., 2021; Kamran et al., 2022; El Chaarani and Raimi, 2022). A persistent commitment to addressing social, environmental, and financial complications is the foundation of social entrepreneurship (Suriyankietkaew et al., 2022; Hidalgo et al., 2022). A comprehensive framework for addressing urgent global concerns such as poverty and inequity, environmental degradation, and climate change has been presented by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Cheng et al., 2021). Bhattacharya and Bose, 2023; Birkmann et al., 2022).Considering these challenges, this special issue explores social entrepreneurship’s potential to comply with Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on innovations, complications, and implications.

Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

Innovations, Challenges, and Impact is a topic that stems from the worldwide effort to achieve sustainable development and the recognition of social entrepreneurship as a means of addressing complex communal problems. A comprehensive framework will be available by 2030 to address problems such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation as set forth in the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2015 (Soergel et al., 2021; Iacobuţă et al., 2021; Anderson et al., 2022).It is the assurance of social entrepreneurship that will provide ground-breaking solutions to social and environmental issues (Bansal et al., 2023; Gu et al., 2021; Duncan-Horner et al., 2022). Sustainable development is characterized by equal weight given to financial sustainability as well as beneficial impact.

In addition to gender equality, environmental preservation, and poverty alleviation, social entrepreneurs develop innovative solutions to a variety of problems (Si et al., 2021; Zhang et al., 2022). In recent years, studies have examined how social entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals are linked, including the contributions they make, the problems they face, and how they affect sustainable development results in general (Kamaludin et al., 2024; Diaz-Sarachaga and Ariza-Montes, 2022). Understanding this connection is therefore key to identifying innovative approaches and overcoming obstacles, and optimize the possibilities of social entrepreneurship to propel the SDGs.

Theoretical Underpinnings (Theories):

The use of social entrepreneurship to solve issues related to the environment, society, and economy while promoting sustainable development has gained more attention recently. According to different scholars social entrepreneurship is the application of entrepreneurial concepts to generate social value that can assist in addressing these difficulties in a unique way (Kamaludin et al., 2024; Rahmanti and Subandi, 2024; Kamaludin et al., 2024). Scholars are increasingly looking at how social entrepreneurship fits into the SDGs since it could speed up the fulfillment of such global targets. The research conducted by Müller et al. (2024) highlights the potential impact that social entrepreneurship can have in generating novel solutions to intricate ecological and social issues that demand attention. Furthermore, social entrepreneurs and microfinance organizations that have facilitated the empowerment of underprivileged populations and improved living conditions for the populace are highlighted by different scholars (Mahajan and Qureshi, 2023; Ranabahu and Tanima, 2022; Andriani and Kalam, 2022). According to his reasoning, social entrepreneurship is a viable strategy for addressing inequality and poverty.

Change is enhanced by social entrepreneurship via a variety of methods that are firmly based in theoretical models and supported by empirical data. A significant theoretical framework is the notion of social innovation, which hypothesizes that social entrepreneurs present innovative approaches to challenge urgent social and environmental problems (Maksum et al., 2020; Cheah et al., 2023; Schröer, 2021). These developments commonly upend conventional methods and present innovative viewpoints for addressing challenging issues. By giving financial facilities to the underprivileged and enabling them to inaugurate sustainable livelihoods, Yunus’s groundbreaking concept of microfinance, for example, presented a revolutionary methodology for reducing poverty (Yunus, 1999). By presenting creative solutions that meet social demands and promote sustainable development, social entrepreneurs are able to effect change through the application of these theories.

Institutional theory and collective action theory are two theories of social transformation that have an impact on social entrepreneurship. The concept of collective action highlights the importance of group endeavors and cooperation in bringing about societal transformation (Wittig, 1996; Desa, 2012; Cherrier et al., 2018; Pareja-Cano et al., 2023). Social entrepreneurs commonly engage stakeholders, create collaborations, and mobilize communities to provoke structural issues as a group. For example, effective campaigns such as the Fair Trade movement have encouraged producers, consumers, and businesses to work together to promote ethical consumerism (Koos, 2021; Peattie and Samuel, 2021; Wang and Chou, 2020). Furthermore, institutional theory highlights how regulatory frameworks and institutions shape social entrepreneurship ecosystems (Spanuth and Urbano, 2024; Sahasranamam and Nandakumar, 2020; Wei, 2022). To inaugurate an environment that supports the growth of their activities, social entrepreneurs push for legislative changes and discuss institutional impediments. These ideas offer a theoretical framework for comprehending the ways in which social entrepreneurship motivates innovation, institutional change, and group action.


In this special Issue, we seek to discover the complex relationship between social entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting particular elements that spur creativity, face difficulties, and create significant results. How do social entrepreneurship efforts help achieve the SDGs, namely in areas like economic growth, gender equality, poverty alleviation, and environmental sustainability? This is our main question. Through the investigation of these particular dimensions, our aim is to reveal the methods by which social companies hold societal issues and propel sustainable development goals. This special issue’s scope comprises an in-depth analysis of the several facets of social entrepreneurship and how they relate to the SDGs. We will look into the innovative approaches social entrepreneurs use to address particular SDGs, the complications they face along the way, and the overall effect of their projects on the goals of sustainable development. We will also look at how collaboration, technology, legal frameworks, and moral issues affect how well social entrepreneurship projects support the SDGs. By combining case studies, theoretical frameworks, and empirical research, this special issue aims to shed light on how social entrepreneurship can be used as a useful tool for accomplishing global sustainable development goals.

The convergence of social entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is discovered in this special issue, which makes it important. In addition to addressing the need for deeper insights into the strategies, workings, and results of social enterprises, it seeks to expand our understanding of how these global goals are attained by them. It also answers the increasing interest in the ability of social entrepreneurship to address difficult environmental and social problems. The importance of social entrepreneurship in constructing resilient and sustainable societies has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, representing this topic pertinent and influential in molding a future that is equal, inclusive, and has a longer lifespan.

Topics of Interest: We are seeking submissions of conceptual papers, case studies, original research, and review articles on the following subjects (though not exclusively):

    1. Social entrepreneurship’s contribution to the accomplishment of particular SDGs, such as gender equality, poverty alleviation, and climate action.
    2. To solve social and environmental issues, social businesses use creative economic structures and tactics.
    3. Obstacles that social entrepreneurs must overcome in order to pursue SDG-related projects.
    4. Techniques for measuring and evaluating impact that are used to evaluate the social and environmental effects of social enterprises.
    5. Alliances and collaborations across sectors to use social entrepreneurship to advance the SDGs.
    6. Institutional assistance and policy frameworks to encourage social entrepreneurship and sustainable development.
    7. The ethical and social responsibility aspects of social entrepreneurship.
    8. Innovations in digital technology to improve the efficacy of social entrepreneurship projects.
    9. Case studies of prosperous social entrepreneurial initiatives supporting particular SDGs.
    10. Theoretical structures and conceptual advancements at the nexus of the SDGs and social entrepreneurship.

Submission Guidelines: Original manuscripts that hold the theme of the special issue are requested from interested authors. Online submission via the journal’s submission system is required for manuscript preparation in accordance with its standards. To verify quality and relevancy, submissions will go through a peer-review procedure.

Important Dates:

  • Submission Deadline: 30 July 2024
  • Notification of Acceptance: 15 July 2024
  • Final Manuscript Due: 15 August 2024
  • Publication: 30 September 2024

Inquiries: Please email the guest editors with any questions you may have about the special edition.
We anticipate your contributions and how they will further the fields of sustainable development and social enterprise.


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