Social entrepreneurship seems to exhibit characteristics of all three sectors. It seems that social entrepreneurs can find and propose sustainable solutions to rapidly increasing fire safety problems. Social entrepreneurs might be capable of building financially sustainable models with gaining efficiency by relying on volunteers. They combine social problems with private sector funding sources and identify products and services, customers are willing to ‘hire.’ It seems that in the future we will see fire risk reductions through social entrepreneurial opportunity recognitions which can inspire us to bring fire safety to a higher level and this is yet to be explored in any detail.
Interest in, and activity around, social entrepreneurship is growing as influential individuals and organizations work to fill the gaps left by government and business in addressing social needs (Bielefeld 2008; Dacin et al. 2011). Leading foundations in the field like Ashoka, the Skoll Foundation, and the Schwab Foundation actively promote social entrepreneurship by highlighting the achievements of individual social entrepreneurs (Seelos, Mair, Battilana, Dacin, & Dacin, 2010). Also, governments have started supporting social entrepreneurship by establishing new organizational frameworks in order to encourage the formation of new social entrepreneurial initiatives and by providing funding to these initiatives.
Correspondingly, the management and nonprofit literatures are increasingly focused on entrepreneurial activities that are motivated by social concerns, such as sustainability, poverty, and social equity (Dacin et al. 2011; Murphy and Coombes 2009). Unlike conventional (or commercial) entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs “neither anticipate nor organize to create substantial financial profit”; instead, they aim for value in the form of societal benefit (Martin and Osberg 2007, 34) by developing innovative solutions to social problems. This mission may be addressed through creating new ventures or innovating within existing organizations (Zahra et al. 2009).
Dees (1998) defines social entrepreneurs as people who play the role of change agents in the social sector, by:
Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value),
Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission,
Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation and learning,
Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and
Exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created.
The central driver for social entrepreneurship is the social problem being addressed, and the particular organizational form a social enterprise (SE) takes should be a decision based on which format would most effectively mobilize the resources needed to address that problem (Austin, Stevenson, & Wei-Skillern, 2006). Thus, social entrepreneurship is not defined by legal form, as it can be pursued through various vehicles. Indeed, examples of social entrepreneurship can be found within or can span the nonprofit, business, or governmental sectors (Austin et al., 2006).
Social entrepreneurs have gained attention due to their promise to alleviate social problems (Estrin, Mickiewicz, & Stephan, 2013). The desire to make positive social change motivates social entrepreneurship (Shane, Locke, & Collins, 2003). Social enterprises have emerged as significant organizational players in market economies (Di Domenico, Haugh, & Tracey, 2010). The number of SEs have proliferated to address a growing number of social problems, like increased fire risks. An increased demand for their services seems to be an important factor that motivates collaboration amongst stakeholders and SEs (Sakarya, Bodur, Yildirim-Öktem, & Selekler-Göksen, 2012).
Stakeholders in the public or private sector and non-governmental or non-profit organizations often seek to collaborate as they lack critical competencies that cannot be developed on their own or in a timely fashion (Child & Faulkner, 1998) and their environments are more uncertain.
Collaborations for social business models enable organizations to assemble, mobilize, and deploy resources necessary for social entrepreneurship—including financial assistance, expertise, and cultural and institutional resources (Mair and Marti 2006; Tracey, Phillips, and Jarvis 2011). By tapping into social networks and linking across sectors, social entrepreneurs can collectively expand capabilities and reach and significantly advance solutions to social problems (Dees and Economy 2001; Drayton 2010; Guclu, Dees, and Anderson 2002).
The question is: How do local social entrepreneurs foster and sustain valuable collaborations? Notably, the establishment and maintenance of collaborations is difficult, and partnerships vary in the extent of partner engagement, resources involved, scope, complexity, and strategic value (Bielefeld 2008).