A social enterprise uses business strategies to maximize its social, environmental or cultural impact. For seCatalyst, a social enterprise is distinguished from other types of businesses, non- profits and government agencies by the following criteria:

  • Addressing a cultural, social and/or environmental need is the principal goal, which serves the common good through its products and services or through offering employment to people who face barriers to mainstream employment;
  • Commercial activity is a strong revenue driver, whether a significant earned income stream within a non-profit’s mixed revenue portfolio, or as a for-profit enterprise;
  • The common good is its primary purpose, Literally ‘baked into’ the enterprise’s DNA;
  • Surpluses and profits are to be principally reinvested into its social, cultural and/or environmental mandate

What is the difference between a social enterprise and a social venture?

Typically, a social enterprise tends to be operated as a non-profit, and a social venture as a for-profit. seCatalyst takes the perspective that the incorporation of an enterprise is less important than the purpose of the enterprise, whether it be non-profit, for-profit, CCC or co-operative. We use social enterprise and social venture interchangeably.