Social Entrepreneurship – The Best Of Both Worlds

How is Social Entrepreneurship Different from Business?

A Social Entrepreneurship is, first and foremost, a business. That means it is an organisation engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers, but it trades primarily to support a social purpose (not profits for shareholders!). Like any business, it aims to generate profit, but it reinvests those profits in the business or in a social cause. It is, therefore, not simply a business driven by the need to create profit for shareholders or owners. Social Entrepreneurship is committed to commercial viability but the prime motivation is building a better society and finding a solution to social problems.

Like business, Social Entrepreneurship is diverse. They include local community enterprises, social firms, co-operatives, and large-scale organisations operating locally, nationally or internationally.

What they have in common is a commitment to meeting a social and financial bottom line. Because they have to meet both financial and social ‘bottom lines’ this can create tensions and conflicts other mainstream business may not face. Social Entrepreneurship can be built to meet all of an organisation’s financial needs or it can be part of a broader income strategy. Their profits can be matched with a combination of philanthropy, government subsidy, corporate donations and self generated income

How is Social Entrepreneurship Different from Traditional Charities?

•It’s about economic sustainability. SE’s aim to become financially secure through business rather than being dependent on grants, sponsorships or donations.

• It’s a business. SE’s keep a market–based ‘business focus’ with a financial as well as a social bottom line (and sometimes an environmental one too!)

• It’s about a hand-up – not a hand-out. SE’s aim to build the abilities and skills of individuals and communities.


Social Entrepreneurs combine traditional business strategies to bring about the social change of Charities. In doing so, they create a powerful business model, that will bring about sustainable global change to the world’s greatest social problems

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