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C2C Digital Magazine (Fall 2022 - Winter 2023)

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Book review: Various forms of “social entrepreneurship” around the world

By Shalin Hai-Jew, Kansas State University


Social Entrepreneurship:  Perspectives, Management and Gender Differences
Olga Agatova
Nova Science Publishers
194 pp.

Researchers around the world may view particular social phenomena in different ways.  “Social entrepreneurship,” coined in the 1980s, is defined as the following:  

…an approach by individuals, groups, start-up companies or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. This concept may be applied to a wide range of organizations, which vary in size, aims, and beliefs.  For-profit entrepreneurs typically measure performance using business metrics like profit, revenues and increases in stock prices. Social entrepreneurs, however, are either non-profits, or they blend for-profit goals with generating a positive "return to society". Therefore, they use different metrics. Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to further broad social, cultural and environmental goals often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, health care and community development. (“Social entrepreneurship,” Sept. 29, 2022)

The ambitions of social entrepreneurship may be nothing less than systemic changes…globally...with mindset changes instantiated in each new generation to be sustainable long-term.  Technological advances and innovations are discovered and shared.  The care for people expands globally because everyone counts.  The green shoots of "fair play" efforts have to be supported for decency and human rights to reign. 

Various foundations in the U.S. and abroad help channel moneys from the wealthy to benefit humanity.  The free market in the U.S. and its tax system have encouraged generational contributions to many of the critical infrastructures of the country’s arts, education, research, and other aspects…as well as investments into global well-being.  Interestingly, it has fostered a system in which the wealthy contribution anonymously, without the need for the social glitter and capital from their largesse.  The socio-political systems of the West have enabled giant advances in healthcare, food production, energy-production, environmentalism, and other research that has bettered people, for generations.  It has enabled billionaires to encourage their biographers to critique them ([I’m thinking of Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball:  Warren Buffet and the Business of Life (2008).]  It has enabled translucency and mass lucidity to improve awareness and decision-making.  It has enabled billionaires to learn broadly and to contribute to a wide range of fields, such as Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates.  The rigorous focus on research, empirics, science, and data, have ensured that social entrepreneurship is measured by actual observable outcomes, not claims.  

And then there are the numerous individuals who take part in various projects—less high-profile—but which still better the lives of many, all around the world.  It is understood that people have responsibility for each other.  

Figure 1.  Dizzy Color



How social entrepreneurship (SE) has developed in the U.S. and in other parts of the world differ a fair amount by how this phenomenon has evolved in the Russian Federation, at least based on a reading of Olga Agatova’s edited collection Social Entrepreneurship:  Perspectives, Management and Gender Differences (2022).  The works here suggest that SE is conflated with general “charity” and has existed from the earliest history of Russia.  And with the latest versions of SE, there is a need for top-down leadership to enable SE to exist (perhaps for funding and also political top-cover) instead of any sort of bottom-up initiative.  There is also a need to show SE in good light in the research, which showcases particular endeavors instead of taking a critical academic approach (which might be more typical for Western researchers).  

From the Russian Federation with Love?

A core question about social entrepreneurship is how to socially organize in a way that people—who may be at core selfish—can find ways to express their best selves and care about others.  After all, living in society is about some level of social mutuality balanced against some level of personal space, free will, self-dignity, and independence.  How can the needs of the many be balanced against the needs of the individual, at scale?  What method of government best enables people to thrive, with equity and inclusion and social justice?  What are the best ways to set up incentives constructively?  And in terms of a country’s leadership, how can they best lead and signal to enable a competitive nation?  

Figure 2.  Steering a Society 


The editor in the Preface defines social entrepreneurship as “an activity aimed at solving social problems and improving social welfare” (Agatova, Preface, 2022, n.p.).  She suggests that various types of research approaches are used in this space:  “socio-factor approach, gender approach, impact approach, competence approach, and comparative approach” (n.p.).  The focuses will be on innovations in this space, particular types of social challenges being addressed, and various programs to support social entrepreneurs in their skills development and the start-ups and non-governmental organizations.  

Social Entrepreneurship to Advance Science, Technology, and Society

Olga Agatova’s “Social Entrepreneurship:  Impact Projects in the Context of Scientific, Technological and Socio-Cultural Development” (Ch. 1) reframes SE as a way to set up social groupings in order to advance science and technology and society together during the “Industrial Revolution” (she does not use the term Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR).  Many of the problems that humanity faces are hard problems, and they require innovative solutions (and often very high levels of investment, technology, and expertise).  

The present moment is a social-technological one, requiring consideration of platforms for SE as well.  Another definition of social entrepreneurship is as “a type of social management of the predicted future” (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 1), including achieving social transformations.  She differentiates between two models of SE:  

…in the industrial technological way—as a social activity to support vulnerable groups of the population; and in the post-industrial technological way—as an activity for social management of the predicted future and social impact. (p. 2)  

There are also models addressing activities:  those of social entrepreneurs, regional centers, and social investment funds respectively (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 18).  

In all populations, the population has evolving needs, visible and invisible.  All societies are also constantly competing with each other for the best future for its own citizens.  In this context, various global-level effects (pandemics, markets, fuel, technologies, social practices, and others) change the ecosystem for all countries, and every nation has its competitive advantages and its weaknesses.  In terms of shaping the future, social entrepreneurship “is studied as an activity to create new configurations of development factors, as socio-technological and socio-organizational organizations” (p. 2). 

Figure 3.  Curvy Arrow


To be able to solve social problems and increase social welfare, it is important to define what those problems may be and where there are gaps in social well-being.  Indeed, truth (even bare facts) itself is highly contested in societies given different points of view among the citizenry.  One major goal in Russia is referred to as the sixth technological order:  “replacement of information with meaning and knowledge, and priority of a producing rather than a consuming economy” (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 2).  [It is unclear to the reviewer what the “sixth technological order” refers to, and there is not an explanation in the text.]

The researcher studies the applied phenomenon of social entrepreneurship by studying those who won the International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research (1996 – 2020).  This award was established by the Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (FSF and Nutek respectively), and these entities were later joined in 2008 by the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN).  The award is given out annually and comes with a €100,000 cash prize and a so-called “The Hand of God” statuette (p. 4).  A cursory review of the list of winners seems to be wholly male, and the focus of the prize may mean an insider academic view.  Indeed, an elite prize will result in a focused cone of attention, a limited aperture.  This work captures a meta-meta perspective of SE as compared to direct primary research or other approaches.  

Analysis of the dynamics of social entrepreneurship research reveals differences in the importance of social entrepreneurship factors:  from the study of the phenomenology of the personality of social entrepreneurs, to the study of the structures (organizations) of social entrepreneurs, to the study of the global (national) role of social entrepreneurship in the scientific, technological and socio-cultural development of countries, national and global economies, creative industries, and support for human development, as well as the study of the effectiveness of impact projects and socially oriented venture businesses.  (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 5)  

As to observed research methods in the various summarized works, she lists the following:   “methods of theoretical modeling, methods of comparative analysis, methods of classifying models of social entrepreneurship, method of discourse analysis and content analysis of websites and projects of social entrepreneurs, and method of classifying impact technologies in social entrepreneurship” (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 5).  

This study explores a 15-year period of SE theory and practice, in a “meta-analysis of the research content of the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research laureates” (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 6). [The approach is not a formal meta-analysis but a less structured one.]  Common social benefits of such SE efforts are mentioned in terms of “charity…employment and improving the labor market…access to services and goods…(and) access to the market” (p. 7).   Platform models of social entrepreneurship focus on the “informational connectivity of social and entrepreneurial activities” (p. 7), so connecting people with needed information.  Acceleration models are about “ensuring development of the qualifications of novice social entrepreneurs and support for social startups” (p. 7), so enabling speed to market.  The different models of SE offer different value propositions.  

This work lists countries by the vibrance of their SE sectors, based on factors such as “governmental support of social entrepreneurship; opportunity for attracting high-level specialists; investment availability and public awareness of social entrepreneurship; profitability of social entrepreneurs’ business; growth rates of social entrepreneurship” (Thomson Reuters, as cited in Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 8).  In friendly countries, those interested in SE endeavors “are granted access to investments for the implementation of social projects, as well as access to markets and networks; they are given opportunities for mentoring and acceleration of social projects and provided with jurisdictions for the development of social entrepreneurship” (p. 8).  Global rankings of respective countries for SE-friendliness in 2019 include the following top ones (in descending order):  Canada, Australia, France, Belgium, Singapore, Denmark, The Netherlands, Finland, Indonesia, and Chile (as the top 10) (p. 9).  Russia came in at 23rd place. The U.S. came in at 32nd place.  

There are some 650,000 Russians estimated to be in this SE sector (all in how you count), with some 3,000 social enterprises in “the 72 constituent entities of the Russian Federation.” There are 291 in the Moscow Oblast, 201 in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra, and 193 in the Bashkortostan Republic (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 10), with the numbers as a proxy for population needs.  This work includes a table with exact counts by regions.  The organizations support projects for people with disabilities, social tourism, education, and the making of “folk crafts.”  

Based on state-collected statistics, Russia faces challenges of rising poverty, low level of health, dropping life expectancy, a stagnant economy, and other challenges.  There are two national initiatives to support social entrepreneurship:  the National Technology Initiative and the National Social Initiative.  These support scientific, technological, and social innovations.   The government has stood up NTI Centers (National Technology Initiative Centers) and SICs (Social Innovation Centers).  

Based on the Global Innovation Index-2020, Russia’s “social, economic, legal, and technological development” as a state shows strengths and weaknesses.  Some of the strengths include their human capital and science, higher education, ratio of teachers to students in secondary education; trade; business development; technology development; knowledge economy; and numbers of patents, among others.  In terms of weaknesses, there are “social institutions,” “quality of regulation,” “rule of law,” infrastructure, lagging investments, microfinance availability;  level of business development; the “development of technologies and knowledge economy,” “results of creative activity,” and others (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, pp. 16-17).  

For social entrepreneurship endeavors to continue, they have to be financially sustainable.  Some mechanisms used in the SE space include the following:  direct investments, social impact investments for “creating measurable socially beneficial impact,” “affirmative business” (defined as “reducing social discrimination by providing favorable treatment for certain groups that are disadvantaged due to discrimination”), corporate responsibility;  “social reporting standards,” “fair trade agreements, social accelerators, (and) regional social economy strategies” (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, pp. 17-18).  

This work brings to mind how variant modern societies may be in terms of space for social advancement.  Some SE activities bridge individuals to access the consumers in the broader market.  Others enable access to gainful employment for socially vulnerable categories of citizens “(for example, graduates of orphanages)” (Agatova, “Social Entrepreneurship…,” 2022, p. 21).  Others provision resources through “investments/grants/subsidies” for social projects (p. 21).  There is “venture philanthropy” and “impact investing” that require “certain obligations and taking into account indicators of effectiveness of social transformations” (pp. 21 – 22).  The “product/service access” model of social entrepreneurship involves providing people “with access to a product or service (if the service is not available to the beneficiary or is removed from the beneficiary)” (pp. 22-23).  The platform model enables the “mobility” of a service, such as “offering mobile medical offices, or a mobile science and entertainment center (bus), or tours for disabled people along certain routes…” (p. 23) or “providing informational connectivity of social and entrepreneurial activities” (p. 27).  The various SE models are drawn out as flowchart diagrams to explain the dynamics.

Figure 4.  Not Symbol


This opening chapter seems designed to lay the groundwork for understanding social entrepreneurship even as the ideas evoke a grab bag of policies and ideas and phenomena. Perhaps the state of the field is still fairly nascent.  Perhaps the review of the literature is not an N = all.  This chapter leaves the reviewer grateful to be living in a society that has more real chances to rise based on merit and opportunity, with fewer headwinds to change one’s social circumstance.  

Top-Down Social Entrepreneurship in Russia?

Vladimir Yakimets and Yulia Zhigulina’s “Social Entrepreneurship in Russia:  Periods of Development, Best Practices, Problems and Prospects” (Ch. 2) opens with a more universalist and generic sense of SE.  They suggest that there have been three historical periods of SE in Russia.  The first runs from the 19th to early 20th century with “Houses of Diligence” for “single mothers to the homeless” where they could acquire care, shelter, and jobs.  Their Second Period (1920 – 1985) or the Soviet period is typified by “labor communes” where “teenagers and young people, who once violated the law, were engaged in producing goods” (which sounds less like SE than child labor).  Then there are the postwar years (1946 – 1985) with “enterprises that employed people with disabilities” (p. 32).  The Third Period runs from 1986 – 2007:  

Public and non-profit organizations…created economic societies and commercial structures along with them, the profits from the activities of which were not distributed among the participants, but were directed to expanding the volume and quality of services for ‘their’ target groups.  (Yakimets & Zhigulina, 2022, p. 33)

The Fourth Period (2007 – present) finds SE as an economic niche, formalized by Russian Federation leadership and instantiated into laws and regulations.  This period finds “the infrastructure of public and private SE support formed and boosted, the mechanisms to support social enterprises at the regional and municipal levels developed” (p. 33).  This period is typified by citizens choosing to not just receive state-provided social goods but moving from a “welfare state” to a “welfare mix” (p. 34).  The co-authors carefully note that the leadership has come from the Russian Federation’s President Vladimir Putin, who emphasized the need for Russia to “boost real competition, open the public sector for NGOs and socially oriented businesses” (Putin, Dec. 12, 2013, as cited in Yakimets & Zhigulina, 2022, p. 34).  They showed the handoff of some state and municipal services to be provided by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  

Some 34 million Russian citizens need social services annually. The researchers write:  “It is a huge and fast-growing social services market that needs serious qualitative transformation, new effective players, adequate regulatory rules, etc.” (Yakimets & Zhigulina, 2022, p. 35).  The state apparently distributes the orders for these services, and it offers tax incentives to introduce competition.  In 2022, SE “in modern Russia (is) turning 15,” and various advances are noted (p. 37).  The co-authors summarize some of the work done by the “Out Future” Foundation, founded by a Lukoil executive; they spotlight some of their leadership and quote from their website.  The foundation also hosts an annual competition to encourage innovations in SE, to surface effective ideas and practices.  The work also comes with messaging to encourage the “impulse of good”.  The Foundation also held a contest for “social franchising” to identify best practices and enable their replication to other parts of the country.  

The review and other work were used to analyze the SE space for enablements and constraints, particularly in terms of state supports.   They conducted survey research for deeper insights about SE practices and thinking in various locales in the Russian Federation.  Besides the analyses, the work updates on the “Out Future” Foundation’s responses during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the work of social entrepreneurs.  The co-authors demonstrate an impressive depth of knowledge of Russian Federation laws and practices. They write with a finesse that would not cause official offense.  

Social Entrepreneurship to Integrate Immigrant Women in Finland to Rural Arctic North

Nafisa Yeasmin’s “Social Entrepreneurship as an Alternative for Immigrant Women for Shaping Wellbeing:  Perspectives from the Arctic Region” (Ch. 3) opens with an admission:  Finland “has faced enormous trouble to integrate immigrant women with refugee status” (p. 103), particularly in the Arctic North which tends towards rural areas with fewer life amenities and support infrastructures.  The women immigrants to Finland are seen to often lack sufficient education or trained skills, thus lowering their employability.  Further, the researcher observes:  “Few of the work-based immigrants remain permanently living in Finland” (p. 104), which may be a disincentive for the host state or companies to invest in them. [This work sometimes lapses into an “othering” tone when referring to the immigrant women.  The author writes:  “Underutilization of learning and previous skills of immigrants entails a considerable waste of resources which basically create exclusion and discrimination between immigrants and locals” (p. 108).  The prior sounds like victim blaming.  Still, the sharpness of the observations is tempered by the observed fact that “65% of Finns said they are not well informed about integration-related matters” (p. 107).  There are also apparently limited interactions between immigrants and Finns, which may enable more social frictions from lack of understandings.]

Figure 5.  Orca in Arctic


To thrive as a country, Finland needs to attract more international students.  It needs to better integrate individuals into the labor market, and perhaps into the country.  Social entrepreneurship is seen as a way to better integrate immigrants into local rural regions and to encourage heightened understanding of each other’s cultures. Immigrants can better learn and adapt to the “local perspectives, customs, morals, values, rituals, and symbols” of the locals (Yeasmin, 2022, p. 105).  Indeed, immigrants to Finland hail from various regions of the world:  Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Africa, Asia, EU and North America, and Latin America (p. 107).  The researcher elaborates:  

Immigrant women’s perceived insecurity…in Finland varies from one city to another.  In the North, the population is declining, creating unhealthy societal ecosystems. In these circumstances, many immigrants especially working-aged women are remained outside of the labour market and need continued support for being determined to participate in social activities and social development. (p. 107)  

The researcher builds on Martin Seligman’s PERMA (“Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning, and Accomplishment” model to better understand how to empower refugee women while considering their whole self and optimal ways for them to integrate and learn and socialize and contribute (p. 107). The PERMA instrument (2011) enables the measurement of happiness and satisfaction.  People need “socio-economic, political, and cultural ties” to “the place they live” (or to their community, even if ties are nominal) (p. 100).  Such ties are more challenging in more sparsely populated areas.  The approach here seems practical:  

The Social Enterprise model per se supports a social purpose and unique opportunities to its members not only for economic solvency but also to advance social justice aspects agendas to integrate into the host society.  Social values and mixed motives appeal to goodwill and self-interest. (Yeasmin, 2022, p. 110)  

The approach considers the person’s mental, physical, cognitive, social, and other aspects of health.  The research includes “ethnographic observation and literature review” and program design based on the PERMA framework for individual immigrant well-being (p. 114).    

Social Entrepreneurship and Children’s Leisure in Cities

Ksenia Ermolina’s “Social Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries of Children’s Leisure in the Cities” (Ch. 4) provides an exploration of a particular sub-group of the creative industries: edutainment in real spaces (vs. virtual) designed for children.  This study considers edutainment spaces as a form of social entrepreneurship based on “franchise, marketing of edutainment programs, municipal benefits for the areas, and motivation for inclusion of children and their parents in edutainment programs” (p. 127).  Edutainment centers are “…various entrepreneurial projects and organizations that organize events and programs for children combining entertainment, leisure, and educational components at the same time” (p. 128); some examples include “KidZania city of professions, Tesla interactive museum, and Einsteinium science park” (p. 128).   Such edutainment endeavors are seen to provide various social benefits:  “…they organize eventful educational time for children, provide jobs for social individuals, and solve the problem of urban economies by returning taxes to the city budget and developing the infrastructure of the city territory” (p. 128)  

The researcher offers a walk-through of the work required for social entrepreneurs to set up an edutainment space, including examining the geography, conducting the marketing, and selecting and setting up the technologies needed for the learning and entertainment.  Entrepreneurs need to identify cities with a sufficient population (a million or more) to ensure a sufficient number of available children to participate.  

Those designing the programing do well to bear in mind some edutainment principles.  Event-based learning or co-existential education enables the acquisition of new knowledge from experiencing “educational festivals, intellectual competitions, technology and achievement fairs.”  There is learning through storytelling such as through “game plots, questions, SMS-navigation, comics, online correspondence.”  There are “threshold concepts” to help students break existing erroneous mental models, by reasoning through a particular sequence of learning.  And there is “thematic education” to enable interdisciplinary learning (instead of within discipline learning) (Ermolina, 2022, p. 135). Edutainment endeavors need to move beyond traditional school education practices.  Such endeavors may benefit from new partnerships.  The development of creative industries “is closely related to the economic and social development of countries” (p. 139), so the larger ecosystem matters.   

Eurasian Women’s Forum and Women’s Leadership

Olga Agatova’s “Women’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship:  Following in the Footsteps of the Eurasian Women’s Forum” (Ch. 5) lauds the leadership and entrepreneurial potential of women leaders.  This work is based on interviews of women participants in the Eurasian Women’s Forum and data analysis.  This researcher uses the Women Business Index method to “analyze the factors contributing to the development of women’s entrepreneurship:  entrepreneurship culture, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and personal qualities of women entrepreneurs” (p. 143).  Women leaders are often linked to “management by values” (MBV), involving “economic and pragmatic values; ethical and social values; humanitarian and developmental values” and described as part of women’s leadership (pp. 148 – 149).  

The state of women in the workplace varies broadly in the world.  There is a gender gap in terms of who starts businesses:  

So far, men worldwide are more likely to start their own business than women; the overbalance …typically amounts to 4 – 6%” according to the Boston Consulting Group that conducted the study.  (Agatova, “Women’s…,” 2022, p. 145)  

There is the slow closing of the wage gender gap in some countries, and a few countries have already achieved pay equity.  The world itself is seen to have evolved to a state where the women’s leadership style is likely going to be effective and even appreciated.  

The society is increasingly guided by democratic principles of management, information technologies are coming to the fore, and the service sector with the corresponding model of business relations is gaining predominance, which is fully consistent with the female way of doing business. The demand for a ‘female’ style of management is also determined by qualitative changes in the management itself, which is now acquiring a sociotechnical, innovative, and human-oriented character.  (Agatova, “Women’s…,” 2022, p. 145)  

Said another way: “…an unconventional female leadership style is fully consistent with modern conditions and can increase the viability of an organization in an unstable environment” (p. 145).  The researcher assesses the supportiveness of the Russian context for women to pursue businesses based on the Women Business Index (p. 152).  The favorability of the “business and social environment” is based on “public attitude towards entrepreneurship (macro level—entrepreneurial culture), economic conditions and infrastructure (ecosystem), and personal qualities and talents (micro level) of women social entrepreneurs” (pp. 152-153).  

Her main finding is the following:  “Analysis of the research data led to the conclusion that the personal and entrepreneurial qualities of women entrepreneurs make it possible to compensate for the lack of environmental support.  By consolidating and cooperating, women entrepreneurs themselves create the necessary institutional support environment for their projects” (Agatova, “Women’s…,” 2022, p. 158).  Even if the world itself is not ready, women leaders (and their allies) may change the world to make it more supportive.   

Figure 6.  Orange Stick Pin


Acceleration Programs for Social Entrepreneurship to avoid the Middle-Income Trap

Olga Agatova’s “Education and Acceleration Programs for the Development of Social Entrepreneurship” (Ch. 6) begins with a known challenge of the so-called middle-income trap.  Here, a developing country’s population starts to advance by exporting manufactured goods, but as the economy starts to modernize, rising labor costs hold the country back from transitioning to a country that makes high value-added products (“Middle income trap,” Sept. 13, 2022). The country experiences low investments and cannot diversity its industrial base.  In this trap, the country starts to stagnate. 

SE education programs and SE accelerators can ensure that social entrepreneurs are aware of the middle-income trap and ways to avoid it.  SE entrepreneurs are portrayed with hope:  

The phenomenon of social entrepreneurship is also of interest because it forms leaders of a new type:  organizers of socially responsible business, who shape strategies for the technological potential of innovation, solve universal human problems of quality of life, and lead the work to achieve socio-economic, cultural, leisure, and educational improvements in their city or region, thereby overcoming the middle-income trap.  (Agatova, “Education…,” 2022, p. 163)  

The researcher provides a listing of the most in-demand educational programs about social entrepreneurship (pp. 166 – 167).  Various social accelerators are also listed out.  Social entrepreneurs studying in various educational programs were also interviewed (p. 169).  Interestingly, there is not a pre-defined learning sequence per se.  

The author writes:  

To overcome this kind of trap, a novice social entrepreneur needs a special kind of competence—competence in the sphere of designing the functionality of the product / service, organizational design, and ability to accumulate and reflect on the experience of trial and error.  Educational platforms, startup support services, and acceleration programs should be designed as sociocultural institutes for the development of such competencies as startup management services.” (Agatova, “Education…,” 2022, p. 179)  

How entrepreneurs may avoid the middle-income trap depends on various on-ground and other factors that Agatova did not directly try to answer the question.  Only a minority of countries have avoided this trap and raised the living standards of their populations past a certain threshold.  Their stories are studied as cases in business schools and economics programs around the world.   

Figure 7.  Lightbulb Idea


Olga Agatova’s Social Entrepreneurship:  Perspectives, Management and Gender Differences (2022) does capture various ways different nations and societies try to meet the needs of their peoples while competing in a zero-sum world.  Leaders of countries balance a number of interests and aims.  



“Middle income trap.”  (2022, Sept. 13).  Wikipedia. Retrieved Sept. 30, 2022, from  

“Social entrepreneurship.”  (2022, Sept. 21).  Wikipedia.  Retrieved Sept. 29, 2022, from  

About the Author

Shalin Hai-Jew works as an instructional designer / researcher at Kansas State University.  Her email is  
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