A social enterprise is an organization whose primary purpose is to achieve social objectives while simultaneously providing goods and services. Like traditional businesses, they apply commercial marketing strategies and aim to make profits. However, they use their profits to fund social programs that benefit society and the environment.
Social enterprises have both business and social objectives; so, they embed both into one primary goal. This goal is to encourage, promote, and bring about social change. For instance, they can provide job training, employment opportunities, or low-cost housing to people living in poverty.
Social enterprises carry out their objectives in a financially sustainable way. It means that they don’t depend on philanthropy or donations to sustain themselves. Instead, they generate revenue and reinvest every profit from sales into their social mission. This attribute differentiates them from traditional non-profit organizations that rely solely on grants and donations. Social enterprises exist in every sector, from healthcare to restaurants, consumer goods to technology, and creative agencies to education. Some notable examples include Warby Parker, D.Light, Benetech, Tom’s, and Divine Chocolate. These businesses employ millions of people nationwide and contribute billions of dollars to the economy.