4 Questions about social enterprise answered

If you’ve been paying attention you might have noticed all the social enterprises which have been popping up. But what are they?

At Dinidae, we have vendors which are ‘not-for-profits’ and ‘social enterprises’. 

A not-for-profit does what it says on the box; that is put all donations or profits to their cause, so in this article, we’ll explain what a social enterprise is and why you should feel good when buying from them.

According to Social Traders, Australia “social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.”

But if they’re a business trying to make a profit, how are they doing good?

Like any business social enterprises need to make money in order to stay alive, which may lead them to prioritise certain things over others, but the beauty of the social enterprise model is that by simply operating they are tackling their social goal. 

If they’re a café that employs and trains disadvantaged youth, all they need to do is stay open!

If they’re a business which sells tea and contributes 50% of their profit to suicide prevention initiatives, then that’s all they need to do!

Why not just buy/give from/to organisations that give 100% of their profits away?

Well you can, and it’s certainly not a bad idea, but social enterprises do have their own merits. Generally speaking, social enterprises are more dynamic organisations. They have greater exposure to market forces, meaning that successful enterprises will expand and bring lots of social good. In contrast, unsustainable social businesses will quickly dissolve. And while Charities rely on donations in order to receive the funds they intend on dispersing, social enterprise receive funds by providing products and services that have a stable or growing customer base.

Consequently, social enterprises have a greater chance of reaching more people and creating a bigger impact.

Have they been proven to work?

The most famous social entrepreneur is Muhammed Yunus who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Grameen Bank, which provided microfinance to Bangladesh’s poor. In Australia some of the most well known social enterprises are Who Gives a Crap, which even expanded globally, and  thankyou.

Today there are more social enterprises than ever before with some 20,000 in Australia alone, all helping to contribute to a fairer and greener future.

You can easily find products from Australian social enterprises in Dinidae, where each product gives back to the local and global community.

Credits to Benjamin Gibson for helping with the content of the article.

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