What is Social Enterprise?

To define social enterprise, you have to understand the difference between a for-profit business looking to do good and a social enterprise. A for-profit company looking to make a community impact is often still vested in serving their own corporate needs over those of their community. While wanting to make a positive impact, their main priority often lies with their investors and board. By definition, a social enterprise, even a for-profit social enterprise, is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human well-being instead of maximizing profits for external shareholders. Social enterprises do not aim to offer any benefit to their investors that will harm the communities where they operate.

Based on the definition of social enterprises, these businesses are designed to tackle current, ongoing social problems and improve communities, individual life chances, and the environment. They earn money and function like any business but work to make a more significant impact, often reinvesting their profits to create broader social change.
A social enterprise betters the world by:
  • Creating jobs
  • Reinvesting profits into communities
  • Protecting the environment
  • Providing vital services