Starting a social enterprise

Social enterprises operate in many different sectors and are making headway in bringing about change through a sustainable business. They are businesses that are set up to seek to improve social or environmental goals. They operate in a range of sectors and can be run under a number of different organizational and legal arrangements. However social enterprises have some unique challenges. For example, Social Enterprise UK point out that in a social enterprise you don’t just have to worry about keeping the customer satisfied. You have to satisfy your social ambitions too – whether that means serving a community, protecting the environment or solving a social problem.

7 Steps for Starting a Social Enterprise. This 2013 Forbes post by Sash Chanoff (interviewed and written by Devon Ysaguirre) talks about what it takes to launch a successful organization or social enterprise.

Top tips: how to start a social enterprise on a shoestring.  This 2013 Guardian article by Alastair Sloan is the director of The Living Furniture Project (a social enterprise that employs and trains homeless Londoners to make bespoke furniture) outlines a number of tips to help get started.

Start your social enterprise. This highly practical 2012 guide – extracted from ‘Your Chance to Change the World’, a book by leading social entrepreneur Craig Dearden-Phillips – has been published by Social Enterprise UK. It takes the reader through the essentials, but focuses on the parts that are most important in a social enterprise.

Managing Social-Business Tensions: A Review and Research Agenda for Social Enterprise. In this 2012 review paper, Michaël Gonin and colleagues point out that social missions and
business ventures are associated with divergent goals, values, norms, and identities. Attending to them simultaneously creates tensions, competing demands, and ethical dilemmas. Effectively understanding social enterprises therefore depends on insight into the nature and management of these tensions. This paper categorizes the types of tensions that arise between social missions and business ventures – emphasizing their prevalence and variety, andthen seeks to address them.

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