• Social impact and sustainability

Facts and myths about social enterprises

Guest Blogger | February 3, 2012

Rose-Marie Almond, Cobourg, Ontario, CYBF Young Entrepreneur & Mentor

‘Social enterprise’ is a term that’s being used more and more. But what does it really mean? Here I’ll try and sort some of the facts from the myths.

There is a social purpose at the heart of every social enterprise.

Fact. If the social initiatives are not part of the business mission or objectives, than the business could be socially responsible, but it’s not a social enterprise. A true social enterprise uses its business activities to address a social or environmental cause or issue.

A social enterprise cannot make money.

Myth. A social enterprise has to make money to be sustainable. Social enterprises are NOT charities, they usually work to achieve social goals as well as financial goals.

Well then a social enterprise can’t turn a profit…

Myth. While many social enterprises operate as non-profit organisations, they can also be for-profit businesses. As a business, a social enterprise needs to a profit just like any other business (as long as its social objectives are met as well).