Social Entrepreneurship – Powered by the Crowd: Crowdfunding, Social Entrepreneurship, and Philanthropy; a Case Study of InnoVentum

Lennie Marie Olsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Crowdfunding is a way of funding projects, start-ups, individuals or non-profits by receiving many small investments from a crowd of backers after having made an open call for help on the Internet (Belleflamme et al 2010). It is a rapidly growing industry and has been used to fund everything from popular TV-show reboots, SmartWatches, medical bills, and relief aid efforts for disaster-stricken areas.
Crowdfunding as well as its academic field are very young, albeit somewhat plentiful. One branch of the academic research has focused on how certain factors can affect or predict the outcome of a campaign, be it campaign duration or use of social media. However, most of this research has investigated only one or two factors, not allowing for context nor for the possibility that a multitude of factors could affect the outcome concurrently. Furthermore, most of this research has been focused on crowdfunding for start-ups. Not a lot of research has been done on either crowdfunding with a philanthropic purpose or on campaigns launched by social enterprises, and research combining the two is non-existent.
This thesis combines these shortcomings in the existing literature by examining social enterprises engaged in crowdfunding with both a philanthropic and publicity purpose and analyses how to succeed in such a venture. A theoretical model of outcome-affecting factors for a social enterprise to consider when creating a philanthropic crowdfunding campaign has been created. It consists of three dimensions answering the what, who, and where questions of a campaign: content, crowd, and platform. The goal is for the model to be used both as a guideline for creating new campaigns and as an analytical tool to determine why a campaign fails or succeeds.
The model has been created through the use of a literature review as well as an analysis of the crowdfunding industry. It was then tested by applying it to the case of InnoVentum, a Swedish social enterprise in renewable energy. The model has been tested in two ways. The first test was of its use as an analytical tool by using it to determine why a previous campaign launched by the company (the Power to the Philippines campaign on Indiegogo, 2014) failed. The second test was of the model’s applicability to a real-world context by using it as a guide for the creation of a future campaign, the aim of which is to gather funds for the transportation and installation of an InnoVentum Giraffe (a hybrid solar and wind power model) to a community for differently-abled children in India called Kiran Village.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages114