How do social enterprises contribute to society?

How Do Social Enterprises Contribute to Society? | The Enterprise World

Social enterprises have been there for several decades. It has emerged as a powerful tool for change as these businesses provide value to the public by improving their lives. Many social entrepreneurs give their time to make the world a better place for future generations. These enterprises seek to maximize profits to be able to benefit society and the environment. Such enterprises are the application of business tools and entrepreneurial skills to achieve social change. Traditional businesses sell a product, create employment, and generate profit from it. Social enterprises pursue a form of social benefit in addition to financial return. 

Getting to Know Social Enterprises:

The concept of a social enterprise was developed in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. In contrast to traditional businesses, this was an attempt to show social enterprises can exist too. These exist at the intersection of the private sectors. Such enterprises strive to seek balance for operations that provide financial benefits with social goals such as housing for low-income families or job training. Funding is gained by selling goods and services to consumers, although some funding is obtained through grants. 

Even though earning profits is not the main reason why social enterprises function, revenue still plays an important role in sustainability. Sustainable revenue is the defining point of a social enterprise which separates it from a traditional charity organization. The charity organization relies on donations and grants. 


How Do Social Enterprises Contribute to Society? | The Enterprise World

Social enterprises primarily focus on supporting social and environmental causes. Due to the work structure, it molds into a unique organizational structure. The goal of these organizations is to achieve sustainable business strategies that support overall success. Conventional companies focus on profits, social enterprises focus both on social and business objectives. The need for these businesses is to bring about valuable changes in people’s lives. Here are some pointers in this regard:

1. Social Value Generation:

Social value is the all-round development we witness in a society. To create an impact on people these enterprises take up tasks like high literacy for the underprivileged, free flow of information among citizens, reducing health hazards, and many more. Doing so creates an impact in people’s lives and they can lead a better quality of life in the future. 

2. Impart opportunities to people:

Social enterprises, by their initiatives, bring about unique opportunities for people. For eg. A social enterprise adopts a village and takes action for its betterment. Initiatives like bringing in water supplies in a draught-prone village are a boon for the village. As water supplies are sorted, the village will experience progress as farming brings in money and stabilizes the village. Just a water line into the village can prove helpful in making the people at least survive on daily needs.  

3. Ability to influence government policy:

Globally speaking, social enterprises via their disruptive actions have been successful in turning some government policies into people’s advantages. Such initiatives have gathered strong popular support which helps the political willpower needed to make fundamental changes. Whether in public health, environmental concerns, occupational safety, or socially oriented initiatives, all these have transformed the way we live, work, and vote on the fundamental issues of the day. 

4. Bring a concern to notice:

Social initiators- another word for social enterprises, bring in better quality of life to people by addressing some issues causing hindrances in their daily living. These enterprises represent the backward sections of society and negotiate with the government bodies regarding the concerns of the population living in a particular section. Proper sanitation facilities, electric supply, trying to impart somewhat modern facilities, etc is the agenda for the population to live at least normal lives and develop themselves. 

5. Create economic value:

These enterprises contribute to the economic renewal of the region or country where they operate or live. By creating jobs, producing income, and nurturing a network of suppliers, lenders, and utility companies, these enterprises make a noticeable contribution to society. It upgrades people’s standard of living and increases the per capita income of the nation. This results in bringing stability to the economy. 

Types of Social Enterprises

How Do Social Enterprises Contribute to Society? | The Enterprise World

The social enterprise includes all types. Small non-profits using entrepreneurial practices on one end, big mainstream companies using environmentally sound practices, and making monetary contributions to the backward sections of society are some of them. These enterprises function in three aspects, namely: People, Planet, and Profit. Unlike the traditional method of business where the obtained profit is reinvested into the business, a social enterprise distributes a large chunk of the profit to bring value and positivity into the society. 

1. Community Social Enterprise 

This type of enterprise seeks to serve the social needs of a community within a smaller geographical area. These entrepreneurial initiatives can be for generating job opportunities for backward populations to building a community center. These entrepreneurs work directly with the members of the community. Community members and local organizations have vested interests and are likely to carry on the ongoing project sustainably. 

2. Transformational Social Enterprise

These people are focused on making a business that can meet social needs. These are those needs that the Government and other businesses aren’t meeting. This category is what often non-profits evolve to with sufficient time and growth. They become larger organizations. At times, they grow to the extent of getting integrated into Governmental bodies. These entrepreneurs have an easier time onboarding top talents for these efforts. 

3. Global Social Enterprise

These entrepreneurs exert themselves to transform social systems to meet major social needs on a global scale. It’s the point where large-scale companies realize the importance of giving back to society and start concentrating on positive change instead of just profits. Such organizations are tied to a cause and collaborate with social entrepreneurs to make it happen. The organization is more likely to reach these heights if it connects with social entrepreneurs and builds a global community around addressing these social issues. 

4. Non-profit Social Enterprise  

These entrepreneurs are focused on social and no material gain. They prioritize social well-being over traditional business needs. Reinvestment is done into the profits made. These enterprises choose to use their power for social good. Entrepreneurs of such businesses are usually more likely to meet the visualized goals as the funding is readily available. 

Social Enterprise Ideas to Start Today:

How Do Social Enterprises Contribute to Society? | The Enterprise World

1. Eco-friendly Product Manufacturing

This type of business model centers around producing and promoting environmentally friendly products. Products like reusable bags, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and solar-powered gadgets are some examples of products manufactured and sold in the market. This social enterprise recognizes the urgent need to reduce the ecological footprint of manufacturing processes and consumer goods. It aims to minimize waste, conserve resources, and mitigate the impact on the environment.   

2. Fair Trade Coffee Shop

This social enterprise model focuses on ethical sourcing, social responsibility, and sustainable practices. The fair trade principles ensure that coffee farmers present in developing countries receive fair prices for the crops. It improves their livelihood and invests in the communities substantially. In such a coffee shop, every cup served is sourced from certified Fair Trade cooperatives or small-scale farmers. 

3. Skill training for Underprivileged Youth

Providing vocational training and employment opportunities to deprived young individuals to empower them with marketable skills. This model recognizes that access to quality education and vocational training can be a transformative force in breaking the chain of poverty. These social enterprises include partnering with local communities, government agencies, and non-profit agencies.  

4. Socially Responsible Fashion Brand

One can launch a clothing line that promotes ethical manufacturing practices, fair wages, and sustainable materials. The socially responsible fashion brand business model combines the principles of sustainability, ethical sourcing, and social impact to create a positive and transformative approach to the fashion industry. 


A social enterprise is often confused with social entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship often focuses on individuals who develop solutions to social and environmental problems using existing business techniques and strategies. These enterprises aim to bring about change impart value to the people and give them a better quality of life. Such organizations have social objectives as their primary goal and use a commercial structure to operate the organization. 

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