EADA and Ashoka analyse the impact of social entrepreneurship in cities

13 July 2023

Social entrepreneurship


What would a city be like if everyone, regardless of their origin or circumstances had equal access to opportunities, motivation and tools to become an active part of change? This question is at the root of the study carried out by EADA and Ashoka Spain, How does social entrepreneurship transform cities? 4 success stories and recommendations for local government. The report finds how the integration of innovative social entrepreneurship solutions in the municipal agenda is necessary to be able to successfully address the social challenges facing cities today. The study also aims to demonstrate the advantages that social entrepreneurship can bring to public policies and city development plans. These include the involvement of agents who are not traditionally associated with social entrepreneurship, an increase in revenue for the city, more efficient solutions and the generation of open knowledge.

The other main goal of the study is to inspire transformative change, promoting collaboration between different sectors and the creation of thriving innovation ecosystems within a community. It does this by showcasing four success stories from the Ashoka network: four social entrepreneurs who have paved the way for cities to become truly inclusive and sustainable places and in the process have become key allies of local government.

Main challenges at local level

The report indicates that since 2007, more than 50% of the population live in cities: the consequence of which is that cities are becoming increasingly crowded and despite contributing approximately 60% of GDP on a global scale, they also use up 60% of resources.

Local governments have ambitious sustainability goals but the steady urban population growth combined with the lack of parallel socio-economic growth, has created a series of significant challenges for the public sector. Some of these include limited financial resources, budgetary constraints that hinder the implementation of programmes that address social inequality and limited training opportunities to attract and retain talent capable of promoting the social agenda.

In addition, policies related to issues such as education, health and employment often involve different levels of bureaucracy, government entities and legal frameworks, which make it more difficult for local authorities to create truly sustainable communities.

Four successful cases of social entrepreneurship

The four cases detailed in the report show how social entrepreneurship can inspire transformative change and convert local authorities into agents that can build a more prosperous and inclusive society. These four Ashoka social entrepreneurs manage projects that range from urban regeneration to food systems and inclusion of persons with disabilities:

  • Nani Moré, Founder of Menjadors Ecològics, a not-for-profit association that works with professionals from different sectors to promote local agroecological production and canteen services that provide organic, local food as part of a healthy, sustainable and fair model. The association advises local governments on how to design tenders that meet the criteria of sustainability, health and accessibility for collective catering services.
  • Marta Pérez, Founder of Fundación Segunda Parte, has designed and developed a programme of physical sports activities for people with an acquired brain injury (ABI). Based on a scientific work method, the foundation trains all its professionals within the field of sport with two goals: to have the necessary tools to treat people with ABI and increase their offer of inclusive physical sports activity for persons with ABI.
  • Ana Bella, President of the Fundación Ana Bella and Director of the Ana Bella School for the Empowerment of Women. This foundation creates networks of women who have overcome gender-based violence so they can support other women in abusive relationships to become empowered and visible to social services in their local area.
  • Isabel Guirao, Director of A Toda Vela, an association that advises local governments towards a new understanding of disability and inclusion. It helps the public sector to promote measures that ensure that persons with intellectual disabilities can exercise their full rights.