Is social enterprise the future?
In 2015 I quit my job in charity management to start something I wasn’t sure would actually work, all I knew was that there must be a way I could connect my love of coffee with my commitment to social change. It was at that point that I started my journey into social enterprise which has given more fulfillment than I ever thought possible.
With one in seven of small business setting up as a social enterprise I thought it would be a good focus for our first blog. It’s also who we are at Well Grounded, what we stand for, and the way we define ourselves.
What is a social enterprise?
Social enterprises take multiple legal forms. You can be a company limited by shares or guarantee, an entrepreneurial charity or a community interest company and be a social enterprise. Ultimately the defining feature is that your business makes profit to ensure social impact.
As you can see, social enterprise comes in multiple guises and I believe this is its beauty. It embodies a social mission with a drive to innovate to solve and support the worlds biggest environmental and social problems, whilst ensuring self-sufficiency. We are in a time where government and philanthropic efforts may not be meeting beneficiary’s expectations and social needs. Therefore social enterprises offer a new model to help ensure long-term solutions.
Some argue that by 2020 almost all charities and associations will be somewhere on the ‘social enterprise spectrum’ – generating some if not all of their income through trading activities.
Where’s Well Grounded in all of this?
I decided from day 1 that before anything we would remain true to our mission for social change. Making profit would be the way we affected greater, faster social change. Therefore we legally set ourselves up as a Community Interest Company. This means we have an asset and profit lock in our constitution, alongside a mission statement to which all our work is delivered in pursuit of. We also embed charity best practice in relation to impact measurement.
So that’s who we are, and why we define ourselves as a social enterprise. If you are looking to work with a social enterprise make sure to ask them some key questions about their governance and their impact, so you can better understand how they operate in the social enterprise spectrum.
Eve Wagg, Founder & CEO
Written by Eve Wagg, Founder & CEO. Published 2 March 2018.