Growing Pains: The Transformative Journey from a Nascent to a Formal Not-For-Profit Venture

  • Avery C. EdenfieldEmail author
  • Fredrik O. Andersson
Original Paper


This article examines how a social venture transitions from nascent to formal status and argues that the transformation of the organization set in motion by establishing formal boundaries is a deeply profound one. Drawing from the nonprofit and social entrepreneurship literature on what prompts and energizes individuals to initiate new not-for-profit ventures, and linking it to a notion of revolutionary crisis as organizations emerge and develop, we seek to illuminate and explore the tension, and its consequences, between nonprofit entrepreneurs and the organization they create as the new venture transitions from nascent to formal. We do this by presenting the results from an in-depth case study examining the gestation and boundary-forming phases of Robert’s Place Cooperative, a plucky start-up cooperative in a midsize Midwestern city.


Nonprofit entrepreneurs Nascent venture Formal venture Transition 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Avery C. Edenfield was previously employed at the research site and was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for a 3-year term. Avery C. Edenfield presented research participants with recommendations and other relevant findings. Fredrik O. Andersson declared there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.School of Public and Environmental AffairsIndiana University–Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

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