Social enterprises are created by social entrepreneurs. These social purpose organisations aim to solve social and environmental challenges and deliver high value and benefit to society.


By definition, the term is used to explain an organisational type in which there is a balance between profit and purpose. Social entrepreneurs find creative ways of employing assets, resources and funding.

For-profit entrepreneurs typically measure performance using business metrics like profit, revenue and stock prices. Social entrepreneurs are either non-profits or blend for-profit goals with generating a positive return to society. They use different metrics. Social entrepreneurship aims to further broad social, cultural and environmental goals. These are often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, renewable energy, housing, healthcare and community development.

Because the world of social entrepreneurship is relatively new, there are many challenges. Social entrepreneurs are trying to predict, address and creatively respond to future problems. Most business entrepreneurs address current market deficiencies. Social entrepreneurs tackle hypothetical, unseen or less-researched issues. Examples of these are overpopulation, unsustainable energy sources or food shortages.

Next Generation’s business model of social enterprise development refers to interventions around the social or societal objective of the common good. These are often in the form of a high level of social innovation, where profits are mainly reinvested to achieve this social objective.

Examples of social entrepreneurship include microfinance institutions, educational programmes, banking services in underserviced areas and helping children orphaned by disease. Social entrepreneurship may be combined with technology assets, such as bringing internet connectivity to remote communities, enhancing access to information and knowledge resources.

Social entrepreneurs’ efforts are connected to addressing unmet needs in communities without access to services, products or essentials that are available in more developed communities. A social entrepreneur might address imbalances in this (un)availability, the root causes behind social problems or the social stigma associated with being a resident of such communities. Social entrepreneurs do make a profit, but their main focus is to implement widespread improvements in society. Their core business tends to be social or environmental issues, and they reinvest profits back in the business to create greater social benefit.

The definition of social enterprise varies across countries. This is because these initiatives:

  • take numerous forms
  • are engaged in multiple networks of activity
  • are subject to different legal structures from one country to the next

Social enterprise versus social economy? Social enterprises are part of the social economy. Social enterprises are businesses trading for social purposes, in the (social) economy.

This includes:

  • Individuals
  • Foundations and trusts
  • Social franchises
  • Charities – not-for-profit or non-governmental organisations
  • Community cooperatives

Our services in this regard can be summarised as follows:

process graphs

Contact us for more on the positive theory of social entrepreneurship. In the meantime, here are links to relevant articles.

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