Social Enterprise

A property, café, shop, residential complex, service or other business, co-operative or non-profit organisation that is cooperatively managed and/or benefits society. Eco-villages, communal projects, upliftment projects, copyright/cultural commons and even open source projects could be included here.

 

Social enterprises are social mission driven organisations which apply market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose. The movement includes both non-profits that use business models to pursue their mission and for-profits whose primary purposes are social. Their aim - to accomplish targets that are social and or environmental as well as financial - is often referred to as the triple bottom line. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social or environmental purpose remains central to their operation.

Rather than maximizing shareholder value, the main aim of social enterprises is to generate profit to further their social and or environmental goals. This can be accomplished through a variety of ways and depends on the structure of the social enterprise. The profit from a business could be used to support a social aim, such as funding a non-profit organisation's programmes. Moreover, a business could accomplish its social aim through its operation by employing individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds or lending to micro-businesses that have difficulty in securing investment from mainstream lenders.

 

Examples: 

The Ethical Co-op, Abalimi Bhezekhaya