Social Enterprises

Social enterprises are those with the objective of “satisfying the needs of the society they live in”. These are profitable companies that contribute towards society and the environment.

They are not typical companies found in capitalism, nor public companies, nor NGOs. They are a different type of companies that look forward to work along with the other types mentioned, as well as with society.

They apply market strategies to reach a social objective. Sometimes their objective is described like a “triple result”: managing to succeed in social and environmental areas, as well as obtaining an economic benefit.

Social enterprise values

There are 7 key principles and values that are part of social enterprises. These are:

  1. People over the capital: Social enterprises are geared towards people and their wellness
  2. Applying the results to sustainable development, people that are part of the organization and their surroundings. They look to maximize benefits but also to re-invest in sustainable initiatives and distribute wealth.
  3. Development of knowledge and competences. Compromised with progress and personal development within the organization.
  4. Capacity for self-management, internal democracy and independence from public entities. Social enterprises are ruled by a democratic system and are self-managed.
  5. Promotes equality. Participative productive system, egalitarian and inclusive.
  6. Development and promotion of cooperation. They are based in a cooperative culture, looking for mutual growth and development and the society.
  7. Responsibility and internal compromise towards society and the environment. Social enterprises fight for Human Rights, try to preserve the environment and look for a more sustainable development of the communities they live in.

Their role in the New Economy

Social enterprises are introducing in our economic system values like equality, sustainability and community. Ways, in which businesses are made, are changing. As they grow bigger and more diverse, they will be setting a solid ground to create a new economy based on people. And they will also change the way in which benefits are distributed among society.

Social business models distribute a social good while they maintain the benefits in the community.

They manage this by practicing the traditional economy of exchanging goods and services, being profitable and self-sustainable.

The value system in these companies is based in the fact that people and their knowledge are more powerful than money. They also think that collaboration is more effective that competitiveness.

Some forms of social enterprises, like cooperatives, are strengthening the aid and self-confidence of the “old Times”.

Their importance in the future

There is a critic need of more diversity in our economic system in order to assure its future. More specifically in the way we make business and how we own businesses. Social enterprises can assure this diversity via the business models that create a social impact and a stronger community.

Actually the economy is managed by private companies where investors are the most important. It is questionable if this economic system is socially and environmentally sustainable. The system needs to develop far beyond the financial line and look for opportunities to include a bigger number of stakeholders: employees, clients, providers and the community. Social enterprises are one of the best rated solutions.


Source: This is a translation of the original article published on ecoemprende.com.