Most social entrepreneurs generate less than half of their income from sales, according to a study by the University of Durham Business School.
Based on in-depth interviews with 80 individuals, the research discovered that despite sharing many attributes with their profit-driven counterparts, social entrepreneurs still depend on grants to survive. The majority of their income is from short-term sources which require time-consuming funding proposals.
The survey also reveals that for many, social entrepreneurial activity still means small-scale initiatives. A quarter of those interviewed support projects with a turnover of less than £25,000. Just 6 per cent have turnover in excess of £1 million.
Nearly 90 per cent of interviewees reported that their projects had created jobs. In total, 492 jobs were established by the 80 social entrepreneurs in the survey.
The authors recommend that social entrepreneurs work more closely with the private sector and embrace mentoring.