What is social entrepreneurship?

We explain what social entrepreneurship is and what are the objectives of these companies. Classification, characteristics and some examples.

  1. What is social entrepreneurship?

A social enterprise is understood as a type of company other than the typical private company for profit and also of the public company of the state sector, whose task is the satisfaction of the social, environmental or other needs of the community in which it unfolds.

Seen this way, social enterprises  apply market methods to achieve social objectives . This includes both nonprofit organizations, and businesses with commercial purposes but social purpose.

Therefore, instead of maximizing the participation of its shareholders, these types of companies propose social impact goals in their communities or the world, such as financing free activities, supporting microenterprises, protecting the weakest sectors, etc.

Often social enterprises are financed by the State or by private investors, but in general they aspire to a certain margin of autonomy and freedom that necessarily goes through the self-sustainable. Cooperatives, unions, many  NGOs  and community organizations are good examples of social entrepreneurship.

  1. Objectives of social entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship
Social enterprises have financial, social and environmental objectives.

The objectives of these types of companies are often referred to as the “triple result”, since they imply success in three integrated areas: financial objectives, social and environmental objectives.

This means that every social enterprise aspires in some way to balance these three aspects of its fundamental task: economic success, social responsibility and environmental responsibility .

The nature of these objectives can be very varied, apart from that. From poverty reduction, mass sexual education, awareness of climate change , etc., everything can be of interest for such an undertaking.

  1. Types of social entrepreneurship

Broadly speaking, social enterprises can be classified into four categories, according to their fundamental objective:

  • Social enterprises of promotion . Those whose objective is to spread a type of ideas, behaviors or behaviors, in favor of a social or ecological cause.
  • Social enterprises of specialists . Those constituted by professionals with a high degree of specialization in a matter of social interest, who fulfill the role of spreading specialized knowledge, educating or informing the bulk of the population .
  • Social enterprises of local action . Those who assume the goal of solving specific, specific problems that afflict the society in which they operate.
  • Long-range social  ventures . Those who intend to address issues of wide range, considered as of international or universal importance.

They could also be classified according to the origin of their financing in:

  • Dependent . Those who receive money from some other institution, either private (commercial) or public (state).
  • Independent . Those who self-manage or prefer to maintain their autonomy free of monetary compensation.
  1. Characteristics of social entrepreneurship

social entrepreneurship
A social enterprise privileges social action over profit.

The broad characteristics of a social enterprise are:

  • Privilege social action over profit.
  • The resolution or at least reduction of problems of community, social or even global interest is proposed for the improvement of human life.
  • It pursues its tasks using methods and discourses of the commercial or business field, especially advertising .
  • It provides employment in the same way that commercial companies do.
  1. Examples of social entrepreneurship

Some examples of social entrepreneurship are the following:

  • Interrupcion . This Argentine company founded in 2000 proposes the dissemination of fair trade and the certification of agricultural products with ethical and responsible methods. His success was such that in 2003 he opened a branch in New York and in 2012 in Peru.
  • Yaqua . This Peruvian bottled water brand claims to be neither a company nor an NGO, and dedicates 100% of its profits to the solution of water availability problems of small national communities within its reach, in a critical scenario of almost 8 millions of people without access to drinking water in Peru.
  • Social factory . Mexican social company created in 2007 that aims to revalue and formalize the textile trade of hundreds of indigenous workers from five Mexican states, promoting equal opportunities, equity and fair trade in a famous country for its battered minorities.
  • Apps  for Good . This company born in London at the beginning of 2010 has as its main objective the independent development of technological applications, but not by its workers, but by the communities themselves: for this they teach courses in educational institutions and encourage open source to be people the one that provides itself with the technological solutions they need to make their lives better. 

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