5 Things You Should Know About Social Enterprise
1. A Social Enterprise Must Exist to Benefit Society or the Environment.
All social enterprises have a specific social objective at the heart of what they do. Their driving force is to make a change, and have a positive impact on the world around them. This will usually be set out in a manifesto or vision statement which can be an effective tool in persuading others to buy into the organisation.
2. Social Enterprises Can Make a Profit
Somewhat confusingly, a lot of social enterprises use the term ‘not-for-profit’. Having a social objective does not mean social enterprises cannot be profitable; it’s simply that their priority is to reinvest profits into their social mission, rather than fund payouts to shareholders. Social Entrepreneurs view profit as essential to the sustainability and growth of their organisation, which results in furthering their social aims.
3. The Primary Income of a Social Enterprise Should Come From Revenue…
Social enterprises primary income stream is from revenue such as selling goods and services. This makes them different from charities which rely on grant funding to fulfill a social mission. Having the freedom to create their own income streams means that social enterprises can have more control over their sustainability.
4. …But Can Also Come From Grants
Social enterprises can apply for grants but it is worth noting that not all grant schemes are open to social enterprises. Grant funding might be used to fund specific projects or subsidise costs, but they should not be relied on as the main source of income. This means it’s worth thinking about where your main source of income will come from before you decide if Social Enterprise is right for you.
5. Social Enterprises Inspire People
Any forward thinking business these days has to be aware of its social impact. Consumers are increasingly looking for products and services which treat people and the environment well. A social enterprise will naturally attract customers, stakeholders and followers when it demonstrates an authentic set of social values at its core.
If you are thinking of setting up a social enterprise or want to know more, the team at Quench is here to help you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to introduce yourself and ask what support is available. We’d love to hear from you.
PLUS – Look out for a new series of ‘Meet The Social Entrepreneur’ blog posts over the coming weeks.