I see a lot of connections between RRI and social entrepreneurship! In a sense, some say that social entrepreneurship is "business as usual with social impact at its core", and you could argue that RRI is also "research with social impact as its core". As such, there are a lot of similarities in the concepts in itself and the fact that they both enter in a "wave" of responsibility, consciouness and research of social impact over economic return.
Plus, for me it is not only about similarities but also they complement each other very well. At SoScience, we create programs with research institutes to create collaborative responsible research projects: during these programs, researchers, scientists, industrials, NGOs, social entrepreneurs... meet and co-create research projects that benefit all stakeholders and answer a social issue (often around the SDGs). It is very interesting to see that when scientists want to develop research and innovation that will have social impact, a social entrepreneur is the perfect match! In a sense, the "classic" valorisation process involves research and industry in order to create economic value. Here, with RRI in mind and as a process, the valorisation process involves research and social entrepreneurs, in order to create social value.
I believe this "field" is growing. For example, you see a lot of organisations that are thinking about financing social entreprises that need a lot of R&D before reaching their products/model, which is kind of new in the VC / funding environment.
This is up to discussion: the link between these two worlds is still very young and fragile. Very few organisations concentrate on that and there are not a lot of places for these actors to meet (this is why SoScience is focusing on that). I believe much more could be done to better intertwin these worlds that have some much to gain from an encounter!
For example, in classic project calls for research, social entrepreneurship is very rarely mentioned.
Some sources if you are interested:
- I talk a little bit about these connections between research and social entrepreneurship in my book (in French only) : https://www.amazon.fr/Science-impact-social-innovation-responsable/dp/2354562578
- Our programs The Future Of (French): http://www.soscience.org/the-future-of_/
- In English, some details on what we are trying to do at the intersection of these worlds: http://www.echoinggreen.org/fellows/melanie-marcel