Social enterprises are businesses set up to fulfil a social and/or environmental mission (e.g., tackling social problems, improving communities, people’s life chances, or the environment). They generate revenue from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into their social mission. Social enterprises can operate in most fields of business and industry. They typically fulfil the following requirements (WISE Report, 2009):

  • Continuous economic activity
  • An explicit aim to benefit the community
  • A high degree of autonomy A citizen-led initiative (civil society)
  • A significant level of economic risk
  • Democratic decision-making, not based on capital
  • Some level of paid work
  • A participatory nature, involving those affected
  • Limited profit distribution