What is a Social Enterprise?

Confused? We’ll walk you through it.

“Social enterprises are business like any other, but they exist specifically to make the world and better place. That could mean creating jobs for the most marginalised, providing services or protecting the environment. Social Enterprise operate in all industry sectors of the economy, from facilities management to catering and hospitality to business administration to design.

Social enterprises must do three things:
  1. Have a defined primary social, cultural or environmental purpose consistent with a public or community benefit, and
  2. Derive a substantial portion of their income from trade, and
  3. Invest efforts and resources into their purpose such that public/community benefit outweighs private benefit.”
Find out more at Social Traders What is a Social Enterprise
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Lets dive a bit deeper… ūü§Ņ

Traditional business models often prioritise profit over social and environmental considerations, while nonprofits sometimes struggle to secure sustainable funding because they are reliant on donations and grants. Social enterprises bridge this gap by offering a hybrid model that uses the market to make money which then funds positive social and environmental outcomes. They provide innovative solutions to pressing issues, from unemployment to environmental degradation, and offer a sustainable pathway to address these challenges. 
Social enterprises are different to traditional businesses and charities by:
  • Purpose-Driven Mission:¬†While traditional businesses focus on financial gains and nonprofits on social impact, social enterprises merge these objectives. They operate with a core mission to create positive change while generating revenue to sustain their operations.
  • Sustainability: Social enterprises aim to achieve financial sustainability through revenue-generating activities, reducing dependence on grants or donations. This approach enhances their long-term impact and minimises unpredictability.
  • Innovation:¬†Social enterprises often pioneer innovative solutions to societal problems, marrying creativity with market-driven strategies to create scalable and sustainable change.
  • Measurable Impact:¬†Similar to non-profits, social enterprises prioritise measuring their impact. However, their impact is balanced with financial outcomes.¬†
In WA, we have over 100 innovative social enterprises that are championing business-for-good across various industries and servicing a diverse range of beneficiaries.

Data from our recent sector mapping surey


Join us as a Social Enterprise or Associate member