The size and scale of Chinese social entrepreneurship

Friday, August 17, 2012

While the social entrepreneurship field has been around for several decades in some countries, it has only begun to emerge in China in the last decade. So there is little understanding about the current organisational structures, origin, size, scope of work and impact of social enterprises in China.

To fill the void FYSE has conducted an annual survey among social entrepreneurs in China for the past two years. In this four part series we share more about the current state of social enterprises in China. Since around 2004 the concept has begun to gain supporters, advocates, incubators, impact investors, the media and academic researchers – have expanded across the country. 95% of respondents to FYSE’s annual Chinese Social Enterprise Survey got involved in social entrepreneurship after 2006, with the Sichuan earthquake of 2008 being a major driving force for participation.

The recent interest in social enterprise is reflected in the youthfulness of enterprises: 54% of them are under three years old and 38% are older than five years. One notable development is that of an inverted pyramid with fewer new social enterprises compared to the number of mature social enterprises. The number of mature social enterprises who were older than five years rose from 15% in 2011 to 38% in 2012. On the flipside the pipeline of early – state social enterprises is drying up, with the number of enterprises up to two years of age and again aged 3-5 years are notably decreasing, indicating that a large proportion of social enterprises are not graduating to the next level and size of operations.

Source: Guardian (link opens in a new window)

social enterprise