What is a Social Enterprise?

A social enterprise is a different way of doing business. It’s not about generating wealth for shareholders or owners, but rather reinvesting profit for social purposes.

Social enterprises are businesses that trade primarily to benefit society. What makes social enterprise different to conventional business is that they seek to create social or environmental impact through the work they do, whatever they do. From empowering disadvantaged communities to tackling the green agenda, social enterprises all have clear community aims and defined reasons for being. Social enterprises often provide inventive solutions to society’s problems and are relied upon to reach communities that others can’t. Social enterprises are slowly changing the face of how we do business throughout the world, providing a refreshing and empowering alternative. Some well-known examples of social enterprise include Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain Fifteen, the Big Issue and Cafe Direct.

To find out how you can source goods and services from social enterprises near you, visit our social enterprise directory on our Shop for Change website.