Toolbox Recommendations for Social Workers to Promote Successful Social Entrepreneurship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social entrepreneurship in social work is presented in the literature as an important practice considering its ability to provide long-term, innovative, and creative interventions for social problems. However, many doubt the ability of social workers to act as social entrepreneurs. This study examined action strategies adopted by social workers who established innovative services to address social problems. Data were collected from qualitative in-depth interviews conducted with 23 successful social work entrepreneurs. Research findings revealed seven action strategies that have the potential to promote successful social entrepreneurship in social work: (1) coalition building, (2) legislative advocacy, (3) media use, (4) legislative tools, (5) active use of social network: “street smarts,” (6) development of a resource infrastructure, and (7) cultural norms and traditions. The study provides insight into the various ways to succeed in social work entrepreneurship; to identify opportunities in education and practice for entrepreneurship in social work; and to serve as an effective, innovative guide to address the complex social problems facing social workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-328
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Association of Social Workers.


  • action strategies
  • policy design
  • social entrepreneurship
  • social innovation
  • social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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