Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise Header showing a variety of types

What is a Social Enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business driven by a social or environmental purpose.

As with any business, a social enterprise competes to deliver goods and services to customers in the marketplace. However, social enterprises differ from traditional businesses in that profits are re-invested to achieve, sustain and further its social or environmental purpose while still ensuring financial viability.

Common Objectives

A Social enterprise aims to be highly entrepreneurial, collaborative, sustainable and innovative in running its operation.  Some common objectives of social enterprises are:

  • To provide business ownership opportunities for individuals and groups of individuals who face barriers to business ownership.

  • To provide training and meaningful employment opportunities for community members, often for those new to the workforce or facing barriers to employment.

  • To enhance wages and working conditions in a specific industry, particularly those characterized by low wages, lack of benefits and poor working conditions.

  • To offer products and services from local resources in environmentally friendly and healthy ways, to meet local needs or fill gaps in the local economy.

  • To strengthen relationships between local producers and local buyers.

  • To employ participatory and democratic decision-making and business management.

  • To become more self-sustaining by generating income and profits through the sales of products and services.

  • To reduce dependency on charitable donations, grants and government funding.

  • To reduce the time spent on fundraising efforts and reporting to funders.

  • To enhance self-reliance, which can result in more freedom and control to fulfill an overall socio-economic-environment community mission.

Many social enterprises adhere to the Community Economic Development (CED) Principles:

  • Local employment

  • Local ownership and decision-making

  • Local economic linkages

  • Re-investment of profits in communities

  • Local knowledge and skill development

  • Positive environmental impact

  • Health and well-being

  • Neighborhood stability and community cohesion

  • Human dignity

  • Interdepartmental and intergovernmental collaboration

For More Info:

Ivy Lopez Sarmiento,
Business Consultant
Small Business Development
Entrepreneurship Manitoba
250-240 Graham Avenue,
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0J7
Toll Free: 855-836-7250
Fax: 204-983-3852
Email: or

Share This