The term social enterprise has its roots in the not-for-profit sector however there has been valiant efforts to broaden the conceptions of social entrepreneurship. The Canadian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship considers social enterprises as “hybrid” organizational models that fuse innovative, entrepreneurial practices with a commitment to social return on investment. These models are moving away from purely charity and donation models to blended models that enhance impact and scale innovations.
If you wanted to make an impact in the past, you would start a non-profit organisation. If a for-profit organisation wanted to make an impact in the world, it would set up a foundation or create a corporate social responsibility department or donate money annually to a charity. Today, overlapping sectors have created diversity and new possible options and organisational types for entrepreneurs who want to make a positive change in the world.
Third sector organisations
If you have a business idea that aims to deliver some form of social impact there are a number of organisational options that support social innovation. These are explored in more detail below:
Capitalist and social innovator
Separating purpose and profit is the way many of us run our organisations and live our lives. As we are becoming more aware of the state of our planet today, we know there is an increased urgency (due to global consumption and the vast economic and social disparity that exists) to look at our choices and behaviours that are threatening our future.
Today you don’t have to sacrifice profit for social impact. When purpose and profit are viewed as equal and are integrated together within our organisations and personal lives great impact is realised. We have to continuously ask ourselves, “What sort of world are we leaving for the next generation and can we afford not to care?”
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Westall, A. (2007). How can innovation in social enterprise be understood, encouraged and enabled. London: Office of the Third Sector.
Martin, R. and Osberg, S. (2007). Social entrepreneurship: The case for definition. Stanford social innovation review, 5(2), pp.28–39.
Socialenterprisecanada.ca, (2015). What is a social enterprise? – Learn about your enterprise – Social Enterprise Canada. [online] Available at: http://www.socialenterprisecanada.ca/learn/nav/whatisasocialenterprise.html [Accessed 20 Jan. 2015].