Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Dr. J. Kirk Ring


Prosocial entrepreneurship refers to simultaneously creating profitability and positive impact for others through entrepreneurial venturing. There are many uncertainties regarding how these firms approach financing and resource acquisition. This dissertation addresses mechanisms of financial resource acquisition through three different stages of prosocial venture formation: nascent, early, and growth stage. It is important to understand how these ventures raise capital and what challenges they face in doing so. In commercial capital markets, the key motivation is company profitability and earning an attractive return on investment.

Fewer financial institutions are willing to enter into financial obligations with prosocial entrepreneurial ventures because prosocial ventures often require long-term investment, which increases the opportunity cost of investors. Secondly, prosocial ventures possess added complexity due to their dual objective, which complicates the assessment of their performance and increases investment risk. Nascent firms often acquire a particular type of resource through accelerator programs that substantially aid and accelerate new venture development. A new accelerator called the social impact accelerator (SIA) selects startups that can generate financial returns and social impact. Little is known about how SIAs make admission decisions.

While the entrepreneurship literature has examined prosocial microlending through crowdfunding, little is known about equity crowdfunding for prosocial ventures. Essay 1 addresses this uncertainty by examining signal qualities of prosocial ventures that influence selection into SIAs. Next, early-stage ventures use crowdfunding to attract a diverse set of investors, some following traditional value-optimizing thinking by investing strategically on signals of quality, while others might be more ethically driven and follow altruistic motives.

Lastly, the scope of prosocial venturing encompasses corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially when CSR is seen as going beyond statutory compliance by aligning core business activities with corporate activity. Although CSR fits within the dialogue of prosocial venturing, its examination has been limited to large established firms while remaining underexplored in young entrepreneurial firms. Essay 2 addresses this gap by examining how early-stage prosocial entrepreneurs create favorable impressions to signal venture attractiveness through a linguistic representation of their prosocial objectives and investment potential. Understanding how prosocial ventures in the growth stage raise capital during an initial public offering (IPO) may offer insights into how traditional capital markets react to firms that pursue both social and economic aims.

Essay 3 addresses this gap by examining CSR within young entrepreneurial ventures and their ability to raise financial resources through initial public offerings (IPO).