Establishing social enterprises is becoming a trend in society. It is considered an agent of change and has a significant role in community development. Before tackling how it can be of help to the growth of vulnerable communities, let us first explore the ins and outs of social enterprising.
What Is A Social Enterprise?
A social enterprise refers to a business with a primary social goal whose profits are used to reach those objectives. It is different from a traditional business since it does not generate and maximize profit for the sake of the shareholders. They are also more likely to innovate and experiment with their different services that cannot be shouldered by both the private and public sector. Most of these social enterprises focus on small communities to be able to provide a sense of identity and confidence to the locals.
What’s good about social enterprises is that they are dedicated to creating more sustainable and innovative projects which can address the world’s pressing issues.
The design of the community was intricate and ambitious, elaborate in its attempts to make room for everything needed, and leaning way too heavily on me as its founder and the one running most of the offerings within the community. — Miki Kashtan Ph.D.
How Do Social Enterprises Function?
First, social enterprises choose a social problem rampant in a particular area. The scope can encompass a small community, a town, or a whole country. Once this social issue has been identified, social enterprises look for the roots of the said problem. This can be done through market research. A community needs assessments, survey reports, field analysis, and observation method.
Once they are certain with the causes, social enterprises try to link it with the current societal patterns and trends. This way, they can come up with ideas which can help them address the societal issue they have identified. These strategies should make sure that it would bring a change in the society’s attitude and lifestyle to answer the said problem.
Afterward, these social enterprises make sure to create a team of change makers with similar advocacies and goals. This action step can help them attract more funders who can help them achieve their primary objective.
Sometimes the changes are slight, but clear – like committing oneself to continued work with a particular cause or mission. — Douglas LaBier Ph.D.
The Role Of Social Enterprises In Community Development
Social enterprises provide a significant impact on community development. These effects can be broken down as follows:
- Social enterprises offer a community with a sense of purpose. These enterprises tap most locals as a way to both provide income for them and answer the call of change in their community. By engaging themselves in this kind of social action, they can bring fulfillment to their hearts.
- Communities feel more interconnected to their fellow residents once they immerse in social enterprising. Establishing a social business like this requires a considerable number of people. Hence, collaboration is needed to be able to sustain the social enterprise in their rural communities.
- Social enterprises are also considered as a tool to develop the locals’ skill sets. This business covers a lot of areas – finance, problem-solving, creativity, technical work, risk management, and more. They are faced in a challenging environment. The learnings they get from here can then be used to further community development initiatives.
- Establishing social enterprises also opens the eyes of communities to the realities of the world. Familiarizing themselves with these issues inspires them to take action into the improvement of their respective communities.
Volunteering has long been viewed as a way to create new “weak tie” connections that lead to career opportunities. Volunteering in your current career industry—or an area you’d like to transition into—is an especially effective way to leverage social connections for career gain. — Dawn C. Carr MGS, Ph.D.
Most change makers’ reason in spearheading a specific social enterprise is because it is something that gives them added motivation in living and it brings them lasting happiness even if it does not result in a tremendous amount of money.
Most people think that social enterprises are considered outreach work; thus, the profit is low. However, in reality, what makes social enterprises thrive nowadays is that it is what consumers want. Most people buy products which are aligned with their values and advocacies. Truly enough, the most fulfilling goods give us a sense of purpose.