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Exploring scaling programmes for social ventures

May 10, 2018

Exploring scaling

New research from GSEN, UnLtd and Footprints Africa explores the key challenges and good practices in supporting social ventures to grow.

This research aims to provide social entrepreneurship support organisations and practitioners with a practical understanding of good practice and challenges in setting up scaling programmes.

The research focuses on programme support organisations’ needs and experiences, rather than on those of programme participants or investors. From this approach, it explores the following questions:

  • What is the best business model(s) for an organisation/practitioner seeking to support entrepreneurs to scale impact?
  • What combinations of support, including financial and non-financial support, are most effective?
  • What is the most effective way to deliver support; from one-to-one to cohort-based, from standardised to tailored?

Foreword from Footprints Africa

Footprints Africa approached UnLtd and GSEN (Global Social Entrepreneurship Network) to learn what really makes a difference in accelerator and similar support programmes. The answer was: “that’s a good question” and so began an exploration to learn from the wisdom of others. The goal was not statistically significant quants, but real-life verified experience that Footprints could use to design its strategy. The research explored a variety of organisations, with different approaches and funding models. As part of Footprints’ and UnLtd’s shared philosophy of sharing lessons widely, we wanted to make sure these insights were published.

Footprints has now begun piloting in Ghana, putting into practice the lessons learnt from the research and trialing different combinations of support. You can follow their progress at

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