Appalachian by Design: Lessons on Creating Social Value

Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2008

13 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2009

See all articles by Barbara Ann Elliott

Barbara Ann Elliott

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Diane Lynch

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Debbi D. Brock

Porter B. Byrum School of Business, Wingate University

Date Written: September 1, 2008

Abstract

Appalachian By Design (ABD), a US rural non-profit venture, developed a social enterprise to creatively address the isolation and lack of job opportunities that have been a persistent problem in rural Appalachia, particularly for women. The organization introduced a trade into the region, machine knitting, because of market opportunities, and built the infrastructure to support it; including a technical knitting apprenticeship, a distributed production network, a central finishing and distribution warehouse and a national marketing program. There has been great interest in social enterprise as an innovative response to challenging social problems, where mission and market are intertwined in a hybrid organization, such as ABD. The findings from the field show that it is one thing to design such a program, quite another to make it sustainable. At the end of the 2005, the founder of ABD, Diane Browning, with a bank loan due and a financial turnaround needed, faced a difficult decision.

This case explores how an enterprise, with an embedded social mission, navigated shifting economic and market conditions to achieve results in their double bottom line.

Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, Social values, Rural regions, Women, United States of America

Suggested Citation

Elliott, Barbara Ann and Lynch, Diane and Brock, Debbi D., Appalachian by Design: Lessons on Creating Social Value (September 1, 2008). Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1344403

Barbara Ann Elliott

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Diane Lynch

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Debbi D. Brock (Contact Author)

Porter B. Byrum School of Business, Wingate University ( email )

Wingate, NC 28174
United States

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