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What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business or organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being. While traditional businesses focus primarily on generating profits, social enterprises prioritize addressing social or environmental issues. These organizations aim to achieve both financial sustainability and a positive impact on society.

Key characteristics of social enterprises include:

  1. Social or Environmental Mission: Social enterprises have a clear and explicit mission to create positive social or environmental change. This mission is integrated into the core activities and objectives of the enterprise.

  2. Financial Sustainability: While social enterprises have a primary focus on their social or environmental mission, they also operate as businesses. This means they seek financial sustainability through the sale of goods or services, rather than relying solely on donations or grants.

  3. Innovative Solutions: Social enterprises often use innovative approaches to address social or environmental challenges. They may develop new products, services, or business models that contribute to positive change.

  4. Double or Triple Bottom Line: Traditional businesses typically focus on a single bottom line—profit. In contrast, social enterprises emphasize a double or triple bottom line, which includes financial, social, and sometimes environmental performance.

  5. Measuring Impact: Social enterprises actively measure and report their social or environmental impact. They use metrics and indicators to assess how well they are achieving their mission and making a difference in the communities or ecosystems they serve.

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