Mapping the Social Enterprise Ecosystem: a student’s perspective

One of the fantastic opportunities for a select number of student researchers is to work directly with the Executive Director of the Hunt Institute, Dr. Eva Csaky. Our team members engage with the Global Development Lab pillar of the Institute, the Social Enterprise Program (SE), or the Inclusive Economic Consortium (IEC) initiative or work on a cross-cutting communication team. On occasion, there is an overlap with one or more providing an opportunity for team members to be exposed to some of the initiatives in other areas such as the Inclusive Economic Consortium (IEC) and the Social Enterprise Program. Undergraduate Research Analyst Scott Zuo’s work, where the SE and IEC intersect, represents one example of this kind of opportunity.

Beginning in the spring of 2021, Scott has been working with Dr. Csaky and other team members on research involving inclusive economy best practices. Scott’s first project involved building and updating a database of such best practices, using examples based on FinTech Awards and case studies from the IFC and UNDP. Scott and the team analyzed each of these examples through a variety of lenses, including collaboration, building access, sustainability, innovation, and more.

Ultimately, the database aims to serve a variety of purposes. For one, since a similar exercise had been done a few years prior, cases included in the initial database that no longer exist in 2021 represent opportunities for updating with new case studies. Secondly, these best practices can contribute to a global map of the social enterprise ecosystem. The examples also serve as useful models through which a framework can be developed for effective business models in the inclusive economy space.

When asked about his experience working on this project, Scott said, “The analyzing process inspired by Dr. Csaky really improved my ability of critical thinking as well as knowledge related to globalization.”

Improving the student experience at SMU is one of the benefits student workers can lean into when they work in the Institute. Undergraduates and Grad students alike can apply to positions posted on SMU’s HandShake. It is a competitive process to be chosen to join the team due to the high level of interaction student employees have with Affiliates, community partners, and leadership in the Hunt Institute.

Stay tuned to the Hunt Institute Digest for future updates on this exciting work and other projects with impact. To hear what student employees in the Hunt Institute are saying about their experience >> CLICK HERE.

To read more about the Hunt Institute’s work to develop future-focused solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, please click here. For the latest news on the Hunt Institute, follow our social media accounts on LinkedInFacebookand Instagram. We invite you to listen to our Podcast called Sages & Seekers. If you are considering engaging with the institute, you can donate, or sign-up for our newsletter by emailing

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