ENVIE and ACTIF are two French social enterprises that aim at creating employment opportunities for long-term unemployed people through refurbishing and selling used goods. Both organizations are regarded as successes in their field, as both their economic and social performances are superior to the averages of other organizations in the field, yet ENVIE scaled much further than ACTIF. The case describes how they were founded as well as how each of them grew from one local site to a national network. Their respective scale-up strategies are illustrated at length, emphasizing how each of them designed a new organizational structure, selected new sites, hired new site entrepreneurs, raised start-up funds, developed partnerships and built systems and capacity.
The case's major purpose is to help students understand the managerial challenges of scaling up a social enterprise. When it comes to replicating an activity from one initial site to other geographical locations, a social entrepreneur can chose different strategies. In presenting two different strategies, the case allows students to contrast the different approaches and to understand what the key success factors of scaling efforts are.