Empowerment is one of the most important social value creation activities performed by social enterprises (SEs). Despite the burgeoning research on SEs, there is limited research on the meaning and aspects of empowerment from the SE perspective, or the so-called SE-as-Empowerment research. In light of this research gap, we employed the Gioia’s methodology and data triangulation to analyze a renowned Hong Kong’s SE that focuses on youth empowerment. This study contributes to the SE-as-Empowerment literature by revealing five types of empowerment — building social awareness, meaningful participation, social connections, building entrepreneurial skills, and power sharing between youths and adults — which can be broadly categorized into social-capacity empowerment and entrepreneurial-capacity empowerment. This study makes novel contributions to the SE-as-Empowerment literature by proposing new concepts including multi-directional (internally and externally oriented) aspect of empowerment, the pluralistic notion of agency, and power sharing between youths and adults as important elements of youth empowerment in SE. Finally, we discuss the implications of this study for the SE practitioners, educators, and policy makers and propose avenues for future research.
- Social enterprise
- Youth civic engagement