What is social enterprise?

Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneur is an entity or individual acting to create social benefit, value or impact, within a defined market segment or constituency by employing a variety of business-oriented models and/or business-oriented operational methodologies.

Despite being an increasingly prevalent practice during the last three decades, the field still lacks a clear definition. There is ongoing academic debate over what is the correct balance of social value and commercial value for a social enterprises. However, for the purposes of this conference, we will be using Nobel Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus’ definition of social business: “I define social business as a non-loss, Non-dividend Company dedicated entirely to achieve a social goal. All profits, or “surplus revenue,” is ploughed back into the venture for expansion and improvement. In social business, the investor gets his or her investment money back over time, but never receives dividend beyond that amount.”

During the conference, we will dedicate time to learn and debate the trends and dynamics of the Social Enterprise sphere, which can help equip participants to better understand, operate and scale their own entrepreneurial endeavors.

For an in depth analysis of the Social Enterprise field, please see a Stanford Social Innovation Review article by Roger L. Martin & Sally Osberg: 'Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition'.