Social Enterprise in China

Social enterprise is becoming a hot topic in China; the model of blending the creation of social impact with a business approach may become an important way in which the social needs of Chinese citizens is met, whether it is the elderly, the handicapped, the victims of disaster, the health and wellbeing of the population, the environment and the problems of pollution that are being addressed.

In 2013, CIVA organised a conference in Shanghai on social franchising and a 4-day study tour in Beijing to look at social enterprise in China. We then commissioned research on attitudes and opportunities for scaling up social enterprise which brought together information from over 40 social enterprises that were spreading or thinking about spreading their work more widely. The   research was undertaken by Collective Responsibility and Global Links Initiative, and will be published during 2015. This research was sponsored by the British Council China, the Leping Foundation and the China Philanthropy Research Institute.

In November 2014, on our own initiative we also undertook a piece of action research providing 2 days of consultancy to 17 organisations in 5 cities over a period of 9 days using a team of 13 consultants (12 of whom gave their services pro bono). This explored whether the organsiations were replication ready, what might be needed to be done before any replication started and what structure should be adopted for the scaling up. A report will be published during 2015. This work was funded by the Narada Foundation, and we worked with NPI (Non-Profit Incubator) as our partner. NPI has since obtained funding from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to continue this work with us.

We also organized a workshop with the British Council for UK social enterprises on the opportunities for scaling up into China, which will be followed by further advice and possibly a study visit.

This is the start of a programme of work which should develop further in coming years.

You can find out more about NPI at:

You can also download the “Scaling Social Entrepreneruship in China” report by the International Centre for Social Franchising by clicking here clicking here.