In today’s competitive environment, finding a reason for others to buy into your business goes beyond being able to simply demonstrate return on investment. To understand what makes a social enterprise we’ve got to go further, into the wider community impact. 

The term ‘social enterprise’ can be mean different things to different people. Since PM Training became a social enterprise in 2008, I’ve found that the most realistic definition is a business at its best, where society ultimately profits from its enterprise rather than shareholders; no matter what size of business it is. 


The profits they generate can be in the form of job creation in the local area, the use of local suppliers, to investment in communities and positive change in people’s lives. 

 

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What matters is that there is good business at the heart. 

A social enterprise should contain all the aspects of good business such as good governance, clear strategic goals but also be clear about how it operates, not just on what it delivers. The perception and number of social enterprises now starting up is changing. The influence of Social Mobility and the benefit social enterprise can make to it is clearly seen across the country.

At a national level, around of 60% of social enterprises seek to employ people disadvantaged from the labour market in various ways and around a third of social enterprises are based in the top 20% of the most deprived areas. The impact is not only felt, it is needed. 

I have found that involving those from your local community that benefit from services means you can go a long way to becoming a good social enterprise; this includes;

  • Involving staff, beneficiaries and the community in design and delivery of services

  • Exploring the partnerships, networks and collaborations that help achieve local area impact from charities to businesses.

As Managing Director of a social enterprise in the training and education sector, to me being a good social enterprise means our measurable results are not just helping young people achieve qualifications but placing them into jobs so they can support themselves, their families and invest back into their communities. 

So, what makes a good social enterprise?

It’s a business at its best where society ultimately profits, that's what it means to me. 

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