Social enterprises use a commercial model for the primary purpose of having a positive social and/or environmental impact. Their mission is embedded within their business activities and processes. The high level of integration between a social enterprise's activities and mission distinguishes it, for example, from a business that adopts a code of ethics or one that uses corporate giving to achieve positive outcomes after generating profits from an unrelated activity. Social enterprises aim to be financially self-supporting, distinguishing them from a charity, but (for the most part) any trade profits are re-invested for increased social and environmental impact.
Those who initiate, invest, or otherwise participate in social enterprises often value:
If you are more highly motivated by the collective good than by private profit, and if you enjoy the independence and challenges of the business sector, then you might find that a social enterprise is just right for getting the job done.
Social enterprises have many models, depending on which parts of their commercial activities are most closely tied to their mission.