Private, government, and corporate sectors increasingly seek to mitigate the precarious economic and environmental conditions their businesses have caused. Given the shortcomings of conventional approaches to achieve meaningful social change, social entrepreneurship has emerged as an alternative approach to answer this call. Combining business, private investment, and social movement models, social entrepreneurs work collaboratively with communities to augment peoples’ livelihood and their social security. This article draws on social entrepreneurship scholarship to analyze entrepreneurs’ initiatives in the northern Philippines’ emergent specialty Arabica coffee industry. I explore the extent to which entrepreneurs can operationalize opportunities and mitigate constraints as they expand from their small start-up premises while maintaining their social mandate. Given that current demand for premium green coffee beans outstrips supply, entrepreneurs may find themselves in competition with one another. This situation coupled with the Philippine government’s inability to secure peoples’ subsistence needs means that farmers may betray their allegiance to the entrepreneurs who supported them. I ask: do social entrepreneurs’ efforts simply alleviate symptoms rather than address root causes of inequality? Entrepreneurs’ efforts to date have led to positive industry outcomes; this suggests that pursuing such cross-sector advocacy can potentially curtail challenges to enterprise sustainability.

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