Petrella, F & Richez-Battesti, N., (2014), Journal of Innovation Economics & Management, n° 14, 2014/2.

Social entrepreneurship is commonly used to qualify economic initiatives that serve a social and/or environmental mission and that reinvest a large part of their surpluses in support of their mission. Even though this definition is not yet stabilized and its boundaries remain unclear, it focuses on the aim of achieving both economic efficiency and social innovation. It took place within a context of need to build new responses to societal challenges that are sustainable, socially, economically and environmentally. Although interest in social entrepreneurship is growing, it is still a controversial notion. Based on a literature survey, this paper identifies the major elements of controversy. Current debates are focusing on the boundaries of this notion, between market, public policy and civil society. Another central debate concerns the organisational form taken by social entrepreneurship, being led by an individual or resulting from a collective process, that will be determinant for the governance structure of social enterprises.