Sector3 Blog #1 – Social Enterprise: Hello, we’re Sector3 and this is our first ‘Blog’ which we hope you will enjoy? We will follow this up with regular blogs from now on various subjects that we hope will be of relevance and interest to you, please feel free to contact us if you would like a subject discussed in the future by using our contact page. By way of introduction, my name is Gary Hunt and I am the founder of Sector3, I have set up this new Social Enterprise Business to help those in the ‘Third Sector’, in particular the small to medium size charities, voluntary groups,community, society, interest or hobby group, club, or business. Sector3 upholds the principles of Social Enterprise and understands the needs and problems faced by small charities and other Third Sector organisations, we are members of Social Enterprise UK – SEUK– which is based in the UK but is the leading global authority on Social Enterprise.
But what is a ‘Social Enterprise’ (SEs), what makes it different from a standard ‘Business’, and what can it do for those in the Third Sector? This is what our first blog is about….
Social Enterprises are businesses yes, but that does not mean that they operate in the same way as a standard business or has profit, the interests of its investors and market share as its highest priority. Social Enterprises have the principles of changing the world for the better. Of course, like any business they try to make a profit but what they do with their income is what makes them different. Most SEs reinvest to make services better, make services free where needed or even donate to make a positive social or environmental change in our society and the world around us. You would be surprised just how many SEs are around us, in our communities, on our shopping centres and in the high streets. There are SEs that operate as coffee shops and community centres, social clubs, corner shops, but usually they offer more than standard products and services. Whatever their products or services are, they also try to help ad contribute to the community and environment as a whole. Some even help others in other parts of the world.
However, they operate SEs also create employment, improve services and by reinvesting their income back into their own organisation or directly back into the community. Some SEs create programmes to tackle social problems, help people with personal and employment issues, they help train and offer reskilling opportunities for those who would not normally have a chance in the commercial world. They help and support communities and those who are excluded and also help the environment and its wildlife.
SEs have been operating nearly every sector in the UK including retail goods, health, energy conservation and production, arts, music, restaurants, finance, legal, and sports. You may have seen many such SEs The Big Issue, Divine Chocolate and the Eden Project. SEUK report that there are “over 80,000 social enterprises throughout the country contributing £24 billion to the economy and employing nearly a million people”.
Because of SEs job creation for those who have difficulties obtaining paid employment and transforming the communities (some have major issues) and the good work they do for the environment and sustainable resource management, they are ‘businesses for good’. And remember when an SE profits, society profits!
So, what is a Social Enterprise? It’s a business, yes…. It wants to be a success, yes…. But, it also wants to make a difference and a contribution to the greater community; its environment; its customers; charities; voluntary groups; local and national authorities; the environment; wildlife; social and human rights movements; energy conservation; recycling and renewable resources…. This list is not exhaustive! So when you buy your products or services, check to see if they are from a Social Enterprise and maybe if not look for an SEs alternative?
I hope you enjoyed this inaugural Sector3 blog and found it informative…. Please do check back occasionally or like the Sector3 Facebook and Twitter feeds to be alerted for the next blog!
Until then,… good luck my friends!
“If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another”.