The Blue Sweater Discussion

I’m trying to learn for my Social Science class and I’m stuck. Can you help?


Based the book The Blue Sweater, what are the important components of social entrepreneurship according to the author’s model? Jacqueline Novogratz argues that success and failure go together and teach us how to succeed. Discuss some of the “failures” or important learning experiences Jacqueline encountered.



In The Blue Sweater, Jacqueline Novogratz proposes a model of social entrepreneurship that involves three key components:

  1. Visionary Leadership: A social entrepreneur must have a clear and compelling vision for social change.
  2. Innovative Business Practices: A social entrepreneur must use creative and sustainable business practices to achieve their vision.
  3. Market-Based Approaches: A social entrepreneur must leverage the power of markets to create sustainable and scalable solutions to social problems.

According to Novogratz, the most effective social entrepreneurs are those who combine all three of these components in their work.

As for failures or important learning experiences, Novogratz recounts several in the book. One of her earliest failures came when she was working in Africa as a young banker and tried to help a local entrepreneur expand her business. Despite her good intentions, Novogratz ended up causing harm by providing too much funding too quickly, without adequately considering the cultural context of the business.

Another important learning experience came when Novogratz was trying to launch her own social enterprise, the Acumen Fund. She encountered resistance from many established players in the field of international development, who were skeptical of her market-based approach. Novogratz had to learn how to navigate these obstacles and build a network of supporters who shared her vision.

Finally, Novogratz writes about the challenges of working in countries with complex political and economic systems. In one instance, she was working to improve access to clean water in Rwanda, but ran into difficulties because of corruption and a lack of infrastructure. She had to learn how to be flexible and adapt her approach to the local context in order to succeed.

Overall, Novogratz argues that failures and setbacks are an inevitable part of the social entrepreneurship journey, but that they can also be valuable learning experiences that help us grow and ultimately succeed in our goals.

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