Social enterprise- what is it?


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An information sheet with more details about what social enterprise is.
Social enterprise is becoming an increasingly important concept for not-for-profit organisations searching for ways to become more sustainable within the tight economic climate.
Businesses are also taking an interest in how to "give-back" to their community.
The Office of Ethnic Affairs has launched a project encouraging social enterprise in the ethnic community. Visit our website to find out more at

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Social enterprise- what is it?

  1. 1. Information SheetWhat is a Social Enterprise?Social enterprises are organisations that apply business strategies to achieve social,environmental, economic and cultural outcomes, with profits being re-invested forcommunity benefit1The form of the enterprise is driven mainly by its motivation. Common themes include: • employment: enterprises that focus on the provision of employment, training and support for marginalised groups. • service delivery: enterprises that create or retain services in response to social or economic needs in the community. • income generation: enterprises that generate profits to support other community or not for profit organisational activities, for example cafes or market stalls that generate income.Social enterprises can be organised in a number of different ways. These may includeFair Trade organisations, cooperatives, and businesses established by charities togenerate income which is reinvested in their charitable purpose (i.e. no individualsbenefit from the profit of the business).Useful Links:New Zealand Centre for Social Innovation ( public, private and community partners to create solutions to New Zealand’smost pressing social needs. This site also contains links and information about theNZCSI School of Social Entrepreneurs.The Social Enterprise Institute: ( ) has been established toidentify, support and encourage New Zealand’s not-for-profit sector to explore socialenterprise opportunities to build social wealth. The Institute offers a programme thatenables a not-for-profit organisation to identify and assess profit-making initiatives thatcan assist it to become more financially independent and sustainable whilst retaining itsvalues and a commitment to social, environmental, economic and cultural outcomes.1
  2. 2. For information on the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship and for inspiringstories go to Social Traders: A force for social enterprise OrganisationsPhilanthropy literally means the love of humankind. It usually refers to efforts topromote happiness and wellbeing within society. Philanthropic organisations usuallyprovide grants and assistance to improve people’s wellbeing.Useful Links:Philanthropy New Zealand ( is the leading body forphilanthropists and grant-makers in New Zealand. It is a membership organisation ofprivate philanthropists, trusts, foundations, businesses, and the community and energytrusts created when community banks and energy utilities were sold. It also encouragesphilanthropy and charitable giving among all New Zealanders.Social InnovationPut simply, social innovation is the “design and implementation of better ways ofmeeting social needs"Useful Links:New Zealand Centre for Social Innovation ( ) bringstogether public, private and community partners to create new solutions to NewZealand’s most pressing social needs.Social finance is about innovative funding that moves beyond traditional grants andcontracts. Social lending is one form of social finance that is in an early stage ofdevelopment in New Zealand. Social enterprises can be funded in many ways and caninclude grants, pre-commercial grants, social loans, commercial loans and equityfinance (Jeffs, 2005) ( information.( )