Social Venture Investments in Kenya: A Case Study into Social Ventures in Kenya Exploring Mission Preservation through the Investor-Investee Relationship

Esben Jonathan Bentsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


As public and academic interest in social ventures is rapidly growing, very little is explored about the so-called social impact investor. Thus, this project sets out explore the relationship between investor and investee in the early-stages of the social impact investing sector in Kenya. More specifically it looks at the effect, which investors have on social impact mission according to their level of social or environmental orientation. The project will go through conceptualization issues for both social ventures as well as social impact investors, but will generally subscribe to an EMES-approach characterization of social ventures. This approach underlines the importance of the blended value proposition as well as the issue of ownership; intentionality for social change matters and will either negatively or positively influence governance structures and exit modes and eventually steer the social venture towards either mission preservation and erosion. An explanatory case study with hypotheses was designed in order to examine this relationship and test how different variables were influenced by intentionality.
Results indicate that investors’ perception of social ventures and their intentionality for social change, or lack of same, do indeed have an effect on corporate governance and potentially on social mission of social ventures. However, it also raises questions about whether or not there is an existence of “true social impact investors” out there, as it appears that a fast-growing social impact sector is meeting an investor-side that are not ready to discard the current financial measures for success and that has not yet adapted to the unique needs that these ventures possess.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Business and Development Studies, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages96
SupervisorsSøren Jeppesen