Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2014

Thesis Advisor(s)

Christopher Levesque

Honors Major



Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Other Business


The goal of social enterprises is to attain social, cultural, community, economic, or environmental outcomes. They achieve this by generating revenue from the goods or services they sell. In recent years, social enterprises have grown notably in popularity, number, and profitability worldwide, as the model for social enterprise has been refined. This paper aims to answer the question, what makes for-profit social enterprises successful? Is it their product, price, place, promotion, social mission, the prior success and capital of the social entrepreneur, a cult-like following, or the aspirational nature of socially minded consumers? This thesis will examine real-life social enterprise case studies to find how for-profit social businesses are able to successfully compete with their corporate competitors.