What is a social enterprise?

January 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment



A social enterprise is a business which doesn’t exist for profit rather is driven by social or environmental purposes.

This definition brings up another question: what is a social purpose? Regardless of the questions that social enterprises bring up, one thing is very clear; social enterprises or businesses are good for the community and society. We will however revisit social purposes at a later date.

Let me give you an example in the simplest of terms. A normal business would have investors or shareholders who have a vested interest in the business and would get a dividend of the profits from the business. In a social enterprise profits are reinvested into the community the business serves or reinvested into the social side of the enterprise.

Are you still confused? I’ll give you a couple of examples of organisations.


Remember nine years ago when celebrity chef Jamie Oliver took 15 disadvantaged youths and trained them to become chefs? Well that this became an example of an excellent social enterprise. The first “Fifteen” restaurant in London became a huge success and has led to restaurants opening in Cornwall, Amsterdam and Melbourne. Youth aged between 16-24 years old train for a year, then move on to working in other restaurants or some have even opened their own.

Divine Chocolate Company

Chocolate is derived from cocoa which is generally found in West Africa and South America. The company is a joint venture between the Co-op, fair trade organisation Twin Trading, The Body Shop, Christian Aid and Comic Relief. It is however a confectionary company with a difference. The company is co-owned by the cocoa farmers cooperative Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana, who not only receive a fair price for their cocoa but also a large share in the company’s profit.

So what is your idea to help the youth or other disadvantaged people in your community or even around the world?

Let us know!

Entry filed under: Our Community, Philanthropy, Social Enterprise. Tags: , , , , , .

Zakat House services in 2011 Thinking about others… while doing our thing

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