Social enterprises solve a range of social needs; therefore, they vary in their approach. There are three standard models that social enterprises employ, and they include:
The Employment Model
Social businesses practicing this model serve the common good by employing people who have barriers to mainstream employment at a fair wage. These employees could be people from at-risk sections of the community, those with a disability, or a disadvantage. The aim is to break the cycle of poverty among the people.
An example of an organization practicing the employment model is Faire Collection. They hire artisans from developing countries to create pieces of jewelry that are sold internationally. Other examples include Nisolo, Fifteen Restaurants, Greyston Bakery, and The Giving Keys.
The Innovative Product or Service Model
They include organizations that create innovative products or services to provide social and environmental impact. An example of a social enterprise that adopts the innovative product model is Benetech, who uses technology to create social change. One of their social programs, Bookshare, is the largest literacy resource for people with disabilities.
Through Bookshare, disabled people have access to more than 300,000 titles of printed materials in different formats. Other organizations practicing this model include FairPhone, Solar Sister, Kiva, and Soles4Souls.
The Give Back Model
The give back or donate back model serves the common good by giving back a product for every purchase they make. This type of social enterprise also includes contributing a portion of profits to fund a social mission. Tom’s is an example of an organization practicing this model. For every shoe sold, they donate a pair to children in developing countries. Similarly, Warby Parker, an eyeglasses retailer, addresses the needs of millions of people in developing countries without access to eyewear. They sell glasses in developed countries and contribute to the needy for each pair sold. Better World Books, Skyline Socks, STATE BAGS, Blanket America, and Everly are other notable organizations practicing this model.