Social Enterprise Today
Social Enterprise has reached the consciousness of most of us in the third sector now. It raises a variety of emotions from:
... a passionate belief in its role in using capitalist methodologies to set up an alternative economic system; to
... concern that it is a cynical manipulation of the public and third sector to privatise public services "through the back door"
The reality is that whilst most of us have heard of it, there is confusion about what it is. Social Enterprise has been around a long time. There are many websites and other sources of information that will give you a history. There's more information on the FAQ page of this section. However, at Community Action Hampshire we are concerned about the future. We are working out how the third sector, including ourselves, can use social enterprise to deliver our social missions more effectively. For us, social enterprise is socially motivated trading; ie. 'enterprise' for a 'social' purpose.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IS NOT FOR EVERY ORGANISATION
This needs emphasising. There is considerable pressure on organisations to consider trading as a part of their funding mix. For MOST it will NOT be appropriate. That's a bold statement but it's a fact that most organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector (VCS) do not have the experience, skills, knowledge and/or motivation to do it. Let's face it, many of us didn't enter this sector to run or be involved in running a business. And that is exactly what social enterprise is. It's 'business' albeit for motivations that we do understand and care passionately about; achieving positive social change.
DON'T WRITE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE OFF TOO QUICKLY
By all means make the decision that trading is not for you. But how about making that decision with a bit more knowledge? Contact Liz Donegan or Sue Dovey for a discussion on any aspect of trading in the third sector.