This Christmas I was given a stool by my mother-in-law. It was a quirky stool comprised of several pieces of wood that slotted together. Turns out that it is made from recycled wood by people with mental or physical disabilities. What is more interesting is that my mother-in-law had no idea of the social aims of the company that made it. She just thought it was a nice item.
There are possibly many businesses whose customers don't realise they are social enterprises. In some cases the businesses might not know it themselves. After all, some start off commercially minded and then look beyond just making a profit.
Combining a commercially viable product or service with social aims is the key to a great social enterprise. This is often not an easy task. Especially when an organisation's aims may be at odds with this. For example, making services more accessible to those that can't afford them. It can be a difficult balance and being profitable is a vital component.
It ensures a business can look after its employees, service its customers, and even do a bit more....