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Our definition of a social enterprise:

“A for-profit organization dedicated to addressing social, environmental and financial challenges faced by individuals around the world, while meeting its environmental, social and fiscal bottom lines.”

TheUniversity of Oxford’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship has the following definition for social entrepreneurship:

“Social Entrepreneurship is the product of individuals, organizations, and networks that challenge conventional structures causing inadequate provision or unequal distribution of social and environmental goods by addressing these failures and identifying new opportunities for better alternatives.”

Additionally, it includes “innovative, market-oriented approaches underpinned by a passion for social equity and environmental sustainability” and the social issues it focuses on are “poverty, marginalization, environmental deterioration, and loss of human dignity.”From this definition come three key characteristics:

1)      Sociality: “What is the context of this endeavor? “What are the existing social issues that need to be addressed? What benefits should the public get from this social venture?”

2)      Innovation: Institutional innovation (new products or services), incremental innovation (innovating existing products or services) and disruptive innovation (revaluating existing social problems in the aim to provide alternative solutions).

3)      Market Orientation: Accountability and cooperative techniques to break into a market, while considering social and environmental implications.

What’s your definition of a social enterprise?