What Social Enterprise Is
Social enterprise is, about using a market-driven business model to address critical social and environmental issues. Many people believe that a fundamental element of social enterprise – is collective ownership.
Until we come up with a broader term than “social enterprise”, some would advocate for a broad interpretation that does not limit it to collectively-owned businesses. If the overarching purpose of the business is to address a social and/or environmental issue, it’s a social enterprise – regardless of its ownership structure. This is a pragmatic position — the world’s problems are far too great to be creating arbitrary silos that limit participation and sharing.
What Social Enterprise Is Not
Social enterprise is not about balancing the “double bottom lines” of profit and social impact, as though they are equally important. The real bottom line for a social enterprise, the goal by which its success should ultimately be evaluated, is its social (or environmental) impact, and being profitable (or at least financially sustainable) is the entirely necessary.
Of course, there can be no social mission without money, but the first goal is mission.
Social enterprise is not the exclusive domain of. While nonprofits have been – and continue to be – leaders in the social enterprise movement, social enterprise need not be limited to nonprofits. Moreover, simply being owned by a nonprofit is not sufficient to make a business a social enterprise. The enterprise must have as its overarching purpose the amelioration of social and/or environmental issues.
Social enterprise is not just another fundraising strategy for nonprofits Social enterprise is not about “saving” the nonprofit sector – While social enterprise has great potential for enhancing the vitality and sustainability of the nonprofit sector, that potential impact is secondary to its real purpose – helping (directly, through the operation of the business) to make the world a better place.
Why Social Enterprise Matters
Social enterprise matters because it is focused on making positive change at a time when we desperately need it. Social enterprise is important tool, among many, that is actively and directly making our world a better place to live.
Social enterprise is more responsive. Social enterprise doesn’t rely on the shifting priorities of government and major foundations; it gets on with making the change that is needed within a community and (sometimes) grows to affect whole cities, countries, and regions.
Social enterprise is scalable. Like all businesses, social enterprise has, with investment and sales revenue, the ability to grow to meet needs and priorities of the communities it serves, as opposed to traditional nonprofit programs, which are often limited to the funds available from government and philanthropic funders.
Social enterprise actively engages stakeholders. Social enterprise gives the people help – a direct voice in the operation of the business – as owners, employees and paying customers.
Article based on: https://managementhelp.org/socialenterprise/index.htm