Appalachian by Design: Lessons on Creating Social Value
Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2008
13 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2009
Date Written: September 1, 2008
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
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