Looking to learn more about social enterprises? You’ve come to the right place! Social enterprises have become increasingly popular as a way to achieve shared societal outcomes. Many social enterprises are owned and operated by a non-profit organization, who operates a social enterprise as a market solution to expanding value in the community.
Although there is no legal definition of social enterprise, according to the BC Centre for Social Enterprise, they are defined as businesses that have a social, environmental or economic value component. This is often referred to as the double-bottom line.
Below we discuss three of the main benefits associated with social enterprise. Keep reading to learn more!
Extending Consumer’s Purchasing Power
Not everyone has the financial capacity to donate to charity despite an eagerness to do so. Social enterprises serve as an excellent way to extend the impact of your dollar on everyday purchases. For example, when purchasing your daily cup of coffee from a social enterprise café that employs at-risk youth, the money you already spend every day goes to both getting a delicious cup of coffee and providing valuable employment opportunities. That's a lot of impact from expenditures you’re already used to making.
Providing Meaningful Employment Opportunities
Many social enterprises seek to create employment opportunities for those facing barriers. Examples of barriers to employment include inadequate housing, lack of educations or skills training, mental illness and risk of poverty. By cultivating a supportive environment and providing the training to build the necessary skills, social enterprises are successfully able to create meaningful employment opportunities through entrepreneurial spirit. This is viewed as a market-based solution to job creation that is sustainable in the long term.
Shared Outcomes: Expanding the Value Pie
Social enterprises expand the value pie to include customers, employees and society as a whole. By using existing purchasing power to achieve their goals, social enterprises do not rely on donors or external entities to help them achieve their mission. By capturing value in every day transactions, social enterprises positively impact the communities in which they reside. This results in shared, positive outcomes for the whole community.
Landscaping with Heart is an employment-based social enterprise where we seek to provide work opportunities to people who face barriers to employment. Through our landscaping and property maintenance business, we are able to provide the skills training and work experience with the goal of sustained engagement in the workforce.