This paper explores emerging development-relevant business models in Kenya — organisations that appear to occupy a niche that sits between mainstream for-profit enterprises and the developmental activities of government programmes, NGOs and development projects. These organisations exhibit a kind of entrepreneurship that blends market-oriented goals with an underlying mission statement that seeks to serve the needs of the poor. This mapping paper sets out to identify some of these organisations in Kenya and explores their potential for putting research into use or facilitating this process. The paper also examines new sources of funding for this niche social entrepreneurial activity — from traditional donors, venture capitalists, philanthropists, challenge funds, hedge funds, etc., — that are convinced that solutions to poverty are being generated by entrepreneurs operating at various levels in society. The paper concludes that these new organisational models are already contributing to ‘disruptions’ in the market in terms of the way of doing business. And, in turn, this has repercussions on the institutional and policy landscapes in which these models operate.
RIU 2011 Discussion Paper 22, 35 pp.