Challenges to measuring social value creation through social impact assessments: the case of RVA Works Nov 23, 2021 By Stefano RumiBala Mulloth Challenges to measuring social value creation through social impact assessments: the case of RVA Works Purpose – Despite the prevalence of academic literature debating and proposing competing conceptions of social value creation through socially driven enterprises, there is a lack of empirical studies on established impact measurement methodologies in the context of real-world ventures. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate a structured process of conducting social impact assessments (SIAs) through the real-world case of Richmond, Virginia Works Enterprise Support (RVA Works), a social enterprise in Richmond, Virginia, that provides educational programming on small business ownership to minorities and lower-income individuals. Design/methodology/approach – This qualitative research study incorporates an in-depth case study methodology. Evidence was collected through interpretive/qualitative interviews and direct observations by the researchers. Findings – Using the example of RVA Works, the authors show that there is a lack of standardization and guidance for social entrepreneurs in choosing methods to assess their organizational performance, and that leading conceptions of social impact continue to face key weaknesses in their methodologies. Practical implications – By incorporating a qualitative case study approach, the authors present a realworld study of a social enterprise – specifically a microenterprise development organization – that may serve as a valuable example to social entrepreneurs and not-for-profit leaders facing similar challenges of social value creation and impact measurement. Originality/value – In studying the experience of conducting SIAs by social enterprises, the authors illustrate the real-world challenges faced by entrepreneurs in applying theoretical conceptions of social value to the outcomes of their ventures, thus illustrating a need for additional clarity and discussion around a more comprehensive, standardized and broadly applicable measurement approach. Link to Paper Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development Stefano Rumi Bala Mulloth Bala Mulloth is an assistant professor at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Mulloth is a globally oriented educator and entrepreneur and his work focuses on innovation and social entrepreneurship. Read full bio Related Content Bala Mulloth Wildrock: Empowering Social Connection and Play in Virginia's Blue Ridge Region Research In this case, we study the growth, evolution, and impact of Wildrock, a nonprofit organization that is helping improve the mental health and happiness of people in and around Charlottesville, Virginia, through access to nature and nature play. Wildrock was created by Carolyn Schuyler, a licensed clinical social worker, in response to increasing mental illness among young adults and a decrease in outdoor play among children. Rebecca’s Natural Food: Sparking Small Business and Local Community Involvement in Charlottesville Research This case study analyzes the growth, evolution, and innovation of Rebecca’s Natural Food, a socially minded grocer that provides locally sourced, sustainable, and healthy products for the public. Founded in 1987 by Norman Dill, the organization’s mission was to orchestrate a movement championing the need for healthy, sustainable, anti-hormone, fresh local food. Professor Bala Mulloth and Team Close to Marketing Better-Filtering, More Comfortable Cloth Face Masks News Gaurav Giri and Batten assistant professor of public policy Balashankar Mulloth co-founded Hava, Inc. to develop technology with the potential to dramatically improve the air filtration efficiency and breathability of face masks. Designers and researchers join forces to imagine the home of the future News Batten’s Bala Mulloth and chemical engineering professor Gaurav Giri, co-founders of Hava Inc., are one of nine design teams commissioned to provide the public with a glimpse into the future of home furnishings and objects for a show titled Hybrid at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia.