Open source models in social organisations and social businesses. How to create sustainable streams of income?

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Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftswissenschaften für Ingenieure und Naturwissenschaftler


Many non-profit organisations and social entrepreneurs who develop products in/for the Global South refinance their work by selling the product or selling the instructions for making the product. Although they actually want as many people as possible to benefit from the product, they create a barrier to distribution. How could they achieve a greater impact by making the instructions for making the product freely available, but still be economically viable? How could open source models from the software sector be transferred to social organisations?

This could be a potential title for the bachelor/master thesis. The paper by Shah (2004) provides initial material for reading into the topic of "open source business models". The literature review by Gupta et al. (2020) provides a good overview of the topic of social entrepreneurship. The thesis will be carried out in cooperation with Hack Your Shack gGmbH. The non-profit start-up is developing the first inclusive web app for step-by-step instructions – for and together with people in underserved communities. Therefore, we bring together creative solutions from local change-makers, social entrepreneurs, universities and international development projects, make them accessible and create reach. The aim is to facilitate access to simple life-improving innovations (such as water filters, solar lamps, menstrual products, etc. as DIY solutions, rebuildable with local resources) and thus create a new way of empowerment . The concrete question of the Master's thesis can be worked out together. Contact can be made with empirical examples.

What's in it for you: exciting, highly relevant topic with a lot of impact and practical relevance, cooperation with a digital social start-up and contact with other organisations.

Keywords: business models, open source, international development, social impact