I was interviewed recently by an academic group from Yonsei University in Korea who are working on a project for the Work Together Foundation. They are researching social enterprise in the UK in order to report back to Korea and help better establish a third sector.
I coach a number of social entrepreneurs and so gave my views on the issues and successes that social enterprise is having from that perspective.
I was asked how I thought social enterprise would develop further in this country. My answer was that I hoped it would come to be the norm as opposed to being a niche separate sector of the economy.
Is this a pipe dream?
It depends on your definition of social enterprise. Is it ‘social good creation and profit’ or ‘profit with social good creation?’
If you use the second definition then Social enterprises do not always need to start from scratch. It is entirely feasible that many private sector organisations can move towards a model of working that allows a good proportion of profit, energy or expertise to contribute to the development of communities, society and the environment we all live in.
Many organisations already have very active CSR policies and are developing fair trade policies.
The advantages are that many people (particularly in generation x and y) now actively want to be working for organisations that have in their heart more than simply making a profit for their shareholders.
Talent therefore flows and stays with organisations that are able to demonstrate a broader meaning to the work they do.
Customers are also making buying decisions on the ethical make up of companies.
Unfortunately CSR or fair trade policies are sometimes seen as being not at the core of a business, more of a nice add on or a marketing ploy.
The question is ‘in order to make social enterprise mainstream what more can leaders of organisations do?’
If you are interested in developing your leadership or creating more effective teams we would love to have a conversation.