>>About Social Enterprise
About Social Enterprise
What is Social Enterprise?
Social enterprises are businesses owned by nonprofit organizations, that is directly involved in the production and/or selling of goods and services for the blended purpose of generating income and achieving social, cultural, and/or environmental aims. Social enterprises are one more tool for non-profits to use to meet their mission to contribute to healthy communities.
Social enterprises can offer needed goods or services for a community, sometimes reversing the underlying causes of community distress and decline. They can contribute to the dynamics and vitality of communities through the cultural sector and by addressing environmental issues. They can build important social relationships and networks that strengthen communities. Through targeted employment they create opportunities for the chronic unemployed and under-employed, or those facing industry adjustment employment challenges.
Social enterprise is a tool for building a sustainable and inclusive economy. It is a model that is used throughout the world to effect change, by using market mechanism to reduce poverty and build healthier communities.
Social enterprises contribute to healthy communities through direct participation in the market and by strengthening non-profit organizations. Social enterprises:
- fill niches that the commercial market does not meet
- promote innovation
- enhance the delivery of social, environmental, and cultural services
- support the sustainability of non-profit organizations
- stimulate local job creation and skill development
- promote economic growth and neighbourhood revitalization
- support an inclusive economy that provides employment and training opportunities for marginalized individuals
Social enterprise is by no means the only tool that can accomplish this goal. Community economic development organizations, social businesses, cooperatives, social ventures, fair trade organizations and social entrepreneurs also seek to benefit communities, reduce poverty and protect the environment using market mechanisms. Some people use the term “social enterprise” to describe these models, however, the unique characteristics of social enterprises are that they are firmly based in the non-profit sector and 100% of their surplus is re-invested in the social mission of the enterprise; other models are often for-profit, and permit distribution of some or all of the surplus to private individuals.
Social enterprises operate in every province and territory, in urban and rural areas, and in every sector of economy. The Marketplace on this site illustrates the diversity of social enterprises in Canada.
For more information:
- What is Social Enterprise - Enterprising Non-Profits
- What Social Enterprise Can Do In Your Community - Enterprising Non-Profits
- Introduction to Social Enterprise - Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
- Defining Social Enterprise - BC Centre for Social Enterprise
- What is a Social Entrepreneur - Canadian Social Entrepreneurship Foundation
- About Community Economic Development - Canadian CED Network
- What is a Social Business - ClearlySo Canada
- What Is a Co-op? - Ontario Co-operative Association
- What's a Social Venture - Social Innovation Generation @ MaRS
- What is Fair Trade? - TransFair Canada
- Social Enterprise: Another Tool, Not the Solution! - David LePage