Social entrepreneurship


Investment with a gender lens: How finance can accelerate gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean


Gender Lens Investing: An Opportunity for the European Social Enterprise Ecosystem


Mujeres con Impacto. Ecosistema de mujeres emprendedoras sociales en España


ESocial HUB, the meeting point of the company and social entrepreneurship



Investment with a gender lens: How finance can accelerate gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean

When women and men have equal opportunities and rights, economic growth and social development are accelerated. More and more reports show that investing in women is not only a moral imperative, but also generates significant economic and business opportunities. ESADE, as a business school committed to developing fairer and more sustainable societies, considers gender equality a priority challenge and an opportunity.

Investing with a gender lens includes investments in companies run by women that encourage gender equality in the workplace and develop products and services that positively impact women.

Gender lens investing has grown worldwide in recent years. Private investment vehicles with a gender lens are valued at more than $2.2 billion in 2018, and $2.4 billion of public capital investment is under management. However, there are few gender lens products and investment vehicles in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Publication: Inversión con un enfoque de género: Cómo las finanzas pueden acelerar la igualdad de género para América Latina y el Caribe


Researchers:  Leonora Buckland, Mar Cordobés, Stephanie Oueda Cruz y Lauren Murphy.


With support from BID Invest (Inter-American Development Bank Group), 2018-2019 academic year

Gender Lens Investing: An Opportunity for the European Social Enterprise Ecosystem

This study comprises an exhaustive review of literature and qualitative and quantitative research with more than forty semi-structured qualitative interviews in Spain and in Europe and a survey amongst 100 Spanish male and female entrepreneurs to analyse the issue of access to credit. Several interesting elements stand out from this study: this is the first in-depth study dedicated specifically to credit access among male and female social entrepreneurs (to isolate the gender effect) and the first attempt to map investment initiatives from a gender perspective in Europe in the social entrepreneurship field and to research the attitude of European social entrepreneurs in this respect.


Without doubt, this study hopes to foment initiatives which raise greater awareness about gender in the social entrepreneurship sector in Europe (and in Spain, in particular), eliminating the obstacles faced by social entrepreneurship initiatives led by women, fomenting greater dialogue and collaboration between the sector and the gender equality movement and permitting the social entrepreneurship sector to become an example of gender inclusivity as well as means to achieve gender equality.


Publication in Spanish: Inversión con un enfoque de género: una oportunidad para el ecosistema de la empresa social europea


Publication in English: Gender Lens Investing: An Opportunity for the European Social Enterprise Ecosystem


Researchers: Mar Cordobés and Leonora Buckland


With support from EY Fundación, 2017-2018 academic year

Women with Impact. The ecosystem of women social entrepreneurs in Spain

The “Women with Impact” project describes the ecosystem of female social entrepreneurs in Spain as well as the key initiatives focused on supporting and making female social entrepreneurs more visible both in Spain and internationally. In addition, the study also identifies the primary obstacles that female social entrepreneurs have to overcome and the mechanisms to further their participation.


Publication: Mujeres con Impacto. Ecosistema de mujeres emprendedoras sociales en España


Researcher: Mar Cordobés


With support from Fundación Abertis and the IIS supporter, Fundación EY, 2016-2017 academic year

ESocial Hub. Sharing knowledge for social entrepreneur initiatives

The ESocial Hub was created due to the need to have an academic reference ecosystem for social entrepreneurs, to channel and transfer relevant knowledge for social entrepreneurship and to create an international network with ecosystem participants. To achieve this end, the project included creating a dedicated website that was easy to browse and use, comprising studies and information of interest in a single space. These studies were not only created by ESADE but by others in the social entrepreneurship field. In addition, the website also included an online directory of social entrepreneurship initiatives, case studies and other reports based on analyses of the directory’s data.


Team: Alfred Vernis, Adrià Cuenca, Laura Guindeo and Mireia López


With support from Porticus and BBVA, 2015-2017 academic years

Momentum Project

The Momentum Project was a joint initiative launched by ESADE and BBVA with support from PwC. The project ran from 2011 to 2016, and its fundamental aim was to promote social entrepreneurship. To achieve this end, the project focused on two areas: creating a programme to consolidate and further the impact of these initiatives and an ecosystem to support social entrepreneurs.

Based on the experience and insights from the project, some highly interesting reports and articles were published for the entrepreneurial and social enterprise ecosystem.


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Microcredit Report. Report on Microcredit Impact

The ESADE Institute for Social Innovation and Microbank began collaborating in 2008, creating content for the campus and, at that time, progressively turning the campus into a useful learning space for the financial entity’s collaborating organisations. In 2009, the project led to a series of annual reports focusing on microcredit beneficiary profiles and the companies they fomented as well as a study on the impact of this financial instrument on the beneficiaries’ social and economic situation, in particular, on job creation and on the consolidation of micro-companies financed by microcredits. Methodologically, the different studies are based on qualitative surveys amongst a series of microcredit beneficiaries selected at the outset. In addition, they had a different focus every year, representing initial in-depth articles on those topic as well as adapting the questionnaire to further the analysis of specific entrepreneurial segments.



Informe Impacto Microcrédito. 10 años

Informe Impacto Microcréditos 2017

Informe Impacto Microcréditos 2016

Informe Impacto Microcréditos 2015


Researcher: Mar Cordobés


With support from Microbank

Women Innovators for Social Business in Europe (WISE)

The WISE project created a holistic educational and developmental programme in Europe for women entrepreneurs who wanted to create a company with social impact. The training and business development plan was based on innovative methodologies and a hands-on pedagogical focus designed from a user perspective. The project also contemplated creating the first online European network of female social entrepreneurs.


Researchers: Monica Grau, Sonia Navarro, Alfred Vernis, Clara Navarro and Elena Rodríguez


WISE was financed by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme and represented a joint project between the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation, the University of Saint Gallen (Switzerland), Freims (Austria), European Sustainability Academy (Greece), Hub Zagreb (Croatia) and DESA Dubrovnik (Croatia), 2013-2015 academic years

SEKN: Initiatives in the low-income sector

The mission of the Social Enterprise Knowledge Network (SEKN) is to generate knowledge on social enterprises and their practice, carrying out joint research, shared learning, student-based teaching and strengthening the skills of executive education institutions to serve their respective communities.


With support from FEMSA