Social Enterprise is an emerging sector of business that focuses on social impact rather than merely profit maximization. Social enterprises include a spectrum of business structures from non-profit organizations that have a sustainable revenue model to for-profit enterprises that have a social mission and hybrids in between.
One definition among many... is Professor Yunus's 7 Principles of Social Business ... redefining business in the 21st Century:
- Business objective will be to overcome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) which threaten people and society; not profit maximization
- Financial and economic sustainability
- Investors get back their investment amount only. No dividend is given beyond investment money
- When investment amount is paid back, company profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement
- Environmentally conscious
- Workforce gets market wage with better working conditions
- ...do it with joy!
Wikipedia on Social Enterprise
Learn more about Ashoka's take on social entrepreneurship
And the Social Enterprise Alliance view on the missing middle
Cool Projects (a featured list of social enterprises to get a feel for what it's all about)
- Modeling Change: SocEnt Ventures On Our Radar
- Leveraging Private Sector Expertise for Public Benefit
- Supporting Social Entrepreneurs
- Tech for Good
- Next Edu Paradigms: disrupting the status quo in education
Changemakers (a short list of some of the key funders in this emerging sector & resources for staying up to date)
- Jobseekers: where change goes to work (a starter list for people ready to work for social impact)
- Get the Buzz: News, media and amplifiers on social impact and social innovation
- Catalysts, Innovators & Funders
Interested in Social Enterprise and not sure how to engage?
1. Check out what people are already doing
2. Find people who are doing similar things to what you want to do
3. Get involved....
- informational conversations
- volunteer for a project
- leverage your expertise
- join a social enterprise (job listings)....
4. If you don't see anything in your area of interest, send some tweets out on Twitter - someone is working on it, you just need to get connected to them!
5. If you don't have a community in your geographic region, here are some ideas for how to create a flourishing Social Enterprise community:
- Hive model: See the Hive, a monthly meet-up for entrepreneurs. Held at a bar on a Tuesday evening, the management only requires lining up a speaker who talks for 20 min and facilitating a Q&A for 20 minutes, mostly people come to meet others also interested in this area.
- HUB model: See the Hub, a globally expanding network of social entrepreneurs who are sharing office space/resources to bootstrap ventures for social change.
- MakeSense HotSpots: See MakeSense, a global community of friends passionate to support social business and connecting people who want to make a social impact with entrepreneurs to solve the challenges of the social enterprise.