Creating social entrepreneurship for rural livelihoods in Bangladesh: perspectives on knowledge and learning processes


  • Jeroen Maas
  • Joske Bunders
  • Marjolein Zweekhorst


learning, group learning, social entrepreneurship, experiential learning, formal learning, group learning processes


Social entrepreneurship is regarded as a way to ameliorate the situation of the poorest in developing countries, at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP). BoP entrepreneurs operate in a severely resource-constrained environment, ?making do? with the resources at hand in a process called bricolage. This is essentially a learning process, acquiring and transforming knowledge to come up with new, improved solutions to improve both the entrepreneur?s and the community?s situation. We studied how learning processes develop over time and how a third party can stimulate entrepreneurial learning. We gathered data during two years of monitoring, group interviews and individual interviews with entrepreneurs, their families and people from their networks. Our findings suggest that both formal training and learning from conducting experiments are effective, mutually reinforcing mechanisms. Initially entrepreneurs mainly experience single loop learning in training settings. The first double loop learning event occurred after they saw the positive results of their own successful experiments newly acquired knowledge and occurred in the affective dimension, when they realize they can be entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurial development could well be combined with institutionalising joint learning processes in a larger entrepreneurial network, gradually leading to joint learning sessions and the co-exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities.