Having been asked to write an entry for the Enterprise Team blog, it seemed apt that my first posting should be around the topic of Social Enterprise; a type of business which is increasingly spoken about and which I have a growing interest in. In this first post I will focus on explaining what a Social Enterprise is.
So what is a Social Enterprise? Well the definition below was created by the old Department of Trade and Industry and although this organisation no longer exists, it is this definition which is still used most frequently by government, social enterprises themselves and by business support organisations.
A Social Enterprise is a business with primarily social
objectives whose surpluses are principally
reinvested for that purpose in the business or
community, rather than being driven by the need to
maximise profit for shareholders and owners
(Department of Trade and Industry (DTI))
So, a Social Enterprise is a sustainable and profitable business, which adheres to a set of values and principles and which uses a significant proportion of its profits after all costs have been met, to provide a benefit to a specific ‘community’. In this context, the word ‘community’ is used as a generic term and may relate for example to a geographical area, a specific group of people etc.
Key questions to ask yourself at an early stage would be,
• What product/service will you provide?
• Who will buy such a product/service?
• What would the social aims/objectives be?
• Who will benefit from your social enterprise?
• What benefits will they get?
You can read more about Social Enterprise here http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/about/about-social-enterprise#charity
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