A social enterprise can be defined as a type of company, different from the typical private company for profit and also from the public company of the state sector, whose purpose is the satisfaction of the social, environmental or other needs of the society in which it develops.
Seen this way, social enterprises apply market methods for achieving social goals. It includes both non-profit organizations, as well as companies with commercial purposes but social commitment.
Therefore, instead of maximizing the participation of its shareholders, this type of company proposes goals of social impact in their communities or the world, such as financing free activities, providing support to micro-enterprises, protecting the weakest sectors, etc.
Social ventures are often financed by the State or by private investors, but in general terms, they aspire to a certain margin of autonomy and freedom that necessarily goes through the self-sustaining. Cooperatives, unions, many NGOs and community organizations are good examples of social ventures.
Objectives of social entrepreneurship
The objectives of this type of company are often referred to as the “triple bottom line” since they imply success in three integrated areas: financial objectives, social objectives, and environmental objectives.
This means that all social entrepreneurship aims in some way to balance these three aspects of its fundamental role: economic success, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility.
The objectives can be very varied, apart from that. From the reduction of poverty, the massive sexual education, the awareness on the climatic change, etc., everything can be of interest for entrepreneurship of this type.
Types of social entrepreneurship
Broadly speaking, social enterprises are divided into four categories, according to their fundamental objective:
Social promotion ventures: Those whose objective is to spread a type of ideas, behaviors or behaviors, in favor of a social or ecological cause.
Social enterprises of specialists: Those constituted by professionals with a high degree of specialization in a matter of social interest, who fulfill the role of disseminating specialized knowledge, educating or informing the bulk of the population.
Social ventures of local action: Those that assume as a goal the solution of specific, specific problems that afflict the community in which they operate.
Long-range social ventures: Those that intend to address issues of a wide range considered of international or universal importance.
They could also be classified according to the origin of their financing in:
Dependent: Those who receive money from another institution, whether private (commercial) or public (state).
Independent: Those who self-manage or prefer to maintain their autonomy free of monetary rewards.
Characteristics of social entrepreneurship
The broad characteristics of a social enterprise are:
- It privileges social action over profit.
- The resolution or at least decrease of problems of community interest, social or even global, for the improvement of human life is proposed.
- It pursues its tasks using methods and speeches of the commercial or business, especially advertising.
- It provides employment in the same way that commercial companies do.
Examples of social entrepreneurship
Some examples of social entrepreneurship are the following:
Interrupcion: This Argentine company founded in 2000 aims to spread fair trade and certification of agricultural products with ethical and responsible methods. His success was such that in 2003 he opened a branch in New York and in 2012 in Peru.
Yaqua: This Peruvian brand of bottled water claims to be neither a company nor an NGO, and dedicates 100% of its profits to solving the water availability problems of the small national communities within its reach, in a critical panorama of almost 8 years. Millions of people don’t have access to drinking water in Peru.
Social Factory: Mexican social enterprise created in 2007 that aims to revalue and formalize the textile trade of hundreds of indigenous workers from five Mexican states, promoting equal opportunities, fairness and fair trade in a country famous for its battered minorities.
Apps for Good: This company, born in London in 2010, has as its main objective the independent development of technological applications, but not by its workers, but by the communities themselves: for this purpose they dictate courses in educational institutions and encourage open source to be people which provides itself with the technological solutions they need to make their life better.
Finally, we can say small businesses and socially-oriented organizations may be active in various directions, working within the framework of socially useful projects in health, agriculture, service provision, education, etc. relates to many areas of human life. The shortest and most capacious may be: “Making a profit from helping other people.”