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Monique Ann Tiongco, Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Gonzales, Maria Assunta Cuyegkeng

Understanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Philippine social enterprises using systems thinking

Dynamic interactions between entrepreneurial activities and economic development have received scholarly attention as they are claimed to increase entrepreneurial performance. The totality of these interactions has been termed as ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’, consisting of agents, organizations, and socio-cultural forces, to produce entrepreneurial activities and for mutual effectiveness and survival. In recent years, the theoretical development of entrepreneurial ecosystems has improved significantly. However, the processes involved in dynamic interaction, connectivity and interdependence need to be explored as they create and reproduce the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem. A growing interest on dynamic and holistic approach has also prompted the shift of focus from the identification of individual components to a view which recognizes entrepreneurial ecosystems as a complex and nonlinear system. By not focusing on the relationships between and among the elements, work on entrepreneurial ecosystem is being limited to just the presence of system components. In this research, systems thinking is applied to explore the interplay among diverse components in an entrepreneurial ecosystem. This approach is applied to draw insights from the experiences of Philippine social enterprises and to construct conceptual models. The findings show that the relationships among state of the social enterprise, its social impact, the culture of the community, and the elements of the ecosystem comprise a systems-based framework that can guide social enterprises in transforming weaknesses to strengths and threat to opportunities as well as in addressing social problems and gaining perspective on how they relate to each other. Leverage points are identified and analyzed to provide effective strategies to enhance social enterprise decision making.