Social Enterprise in Mexico: Higher Education and Beyond

Richard Hazenberg, Claire Paterson-Young, Ecem Karlidag-Dennis, Mark Majewsky-Anderson, Carolyn McMillan

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


Social enterprises address social and environmental problems by developing innovative solutions to improve communities, societies and the lives of individuals. The meaning of social enterprise is fluid, with Teasdale (2012:100) arguing that social enterprise is “politically, culturally, historically and geographically variable”. The British Council’s global social enterprise programme draws on the UK experience in social enterprise and the Council’s work across the world to promote its growth around the world. This research investigates the social enterprise landscape in Mexico, specifically to explore how Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) utilise their resources and expertise to develop social enterprise ecosystems. Thomson Reuters Foundation (2019) research on the “Best Country to be a Social Entrepreneur” ranked Mexico last (43rd), a drop of 15 places from its 2016 position of 28th overall . This drop was based on worsening conditions for accessing non-financial business support (a key area that HEIs can assist with), as well as deteriorating sales to the public. However, Mexico does perform well in the involvement of youth in social enterprise, ranking 9th in this area and illustrating how universities’ key resource (i.e. students) could be utilised to support growth. Thus, understanding the social enterprise ecosystem in Mexico, and the role of HEIs, creates an opportunity for promoting social entrepreneurship and social innovation in Mexico and improving the ecosystem opportunities in the country.

This research seeks to analyse the status of integration between Mexican Higher Education Institutions and the wider social enterprise ecosystem, exploring current challenges and opportunities from the academic, institutional and system level perspective. The core objectives of the research are:
•To update on the status of HEIs contributions to Social Enterprise initiatives in Mexico, as well as their participation on international and multinational collaborations.
•To identify HE institutional / HE-system policy innovations designed to open spaces for Universities or Research Centres to integrate SE as a strategy to engage with non-HE communities.
•To determine how HEIs are prioritizing financial, technical, physical, and human resources, as well as networks, knowledge, and expertise to consolidate their participation in SE related programmes and activities.
•To analyse HEIs best practices on assessing the impact of SE activity, from the academic perspective (students, staff) and from the external community engagement perspective.
•To identify relevant challenges for HEIs to actively participate in the promotion of social value, with a focus on SE from an institutional perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyBritish Council Mexico
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Social Enterprise
  • Higher Education
  • Mexico


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