Green business, triple bottom line business, non-profit, ethical company, green certified, B Corp or responsible business; are we talking about the same thing? And if so, we should dare to call ourselves, "Social Enterprise!"?
Today, the idea of "social enterprise" is a buzzing phrase, especially in the
The phrase, "Social Enterprise" started the early 70's with conversation in, "Sociology and Social Movements," which isn't online funny enough. The phrase was also made famous within a 1981 report on "A Management Tool for Co-operative Working" by Freer Spreckly.
The stories of social enterprises are the key to their success. In the process of trying to change the world, social enterprises have garnered not only success but admiration by their customers. Think about Seventh Generation or TOMS Shoes, for example.
After recently reading The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz, I was moved by Jacqueline’s path across South America and
The stories of social entrepreneurs are memorable.
In 2011, the Harvard Business Review talks about "rethinking capitalism." In opposition with purely money hungry business, social enterprises offer an alternative business model that focuses on helping community and being financially feasible, while also maintaining organizations' clearly stated social or environmental missions.
Social enterprise is getting more and more popular, with now an estimated 90K hits on Google (compared to say, the more than 100 million of 'Facebook login'). People are becoming curious about this topic, and Americans are tentatively moving away from donor-centric business models. Whether you're a for-profit or not-for-profit, understand your cause-based company as a social enterprise.
And yet, I've asked several businesses (not named) that might label themselves as "social enterprises" but still call themselves non-profits or green businesses. I'm not against defining your organization strictly as a non-profit, it just seems that quantifying our shared value through organizations like associations, clubs or groups, we could help re-define business.
Social enterprise is already re-defining business and the development of corporate social responsibility, corporate philanthropy and socially responsible investing among many other industries. But if we all were labeled "social enterprise", we could move quicker.
So let's just admit that we're the face of business change. Social enterprises throughout the
Let's dare to be social enterprises.
Erica Grigg is Founder and CMO at Carbon Outreach, a marketing and digital advertising agency in