How Social Enterprises
Can Find The Talent to Scale

Social and emerging market entrepreneurs are building companies that are making a critical difference – bringing impactful products and services to market while creating jobs in emerging economies. ​

Our research takes a deep dive into a crucial challenge that entrepreneurs face as they scale their companies: hiring and building their teams. Our global research shed light on what this challenge looks like – and most importantly – what we all can do differently.

social enterprises surveyed across 5 continents

impact investors and entrepreneurs interviewed

intermediaries distributed research survey to their portfolio entrepreneurs

Key Findings

Act now – talent gets tougher over time

While fundraising and all other challenges get easier, finding and keeping the right talent is the only challenge that gets tougher. 45% of later-stage entrepreneurs find accessing talent to be very or extremely challenging, up from 25% of early-stage entrepreneurs.

Don’t just train employees – grow leaders

The data is clear: entrepreneurs want to train up their teammates. Developing internal capabilities is by far the most preferred method when entrepreneurs need to add critical skills to their companies. 38% of entrepreneurs say that this is their favored option. Entrepreneurs can best equip themselves to meet their future leadership needs by making training a core competency today.

Win talent by thinking beyond compensation

Entrepreneurs cite budget constraints as a fundamental limitation to hiring the talent they need – which lingers as a key constraint no matter the amount of funding a venture raises. Successful ventures are able to compete beyond compensation through a winning Employee Value Proposition.

Improve value of mentors, advisors

As ventures scale, satisfaction with mentors and advisors significantly drops. A one-size-fits-all approach to mentorship doesn’t account for scaling companies having different needs than earlier stage companies. Most importantly, it misses the true opportunity of leveraging mentors and advisors: taking advantage of their specific expertise to work more closely to solve critical challenges. 

About the Research


Rippleworks led this research initiative with support from McKinsey and Omidyar Network. The report was published and released at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.