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What is a Social Enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business with a social or environmental purpose. They compete to deliver goods and services like any other business but also apply innovative and practical solutions to the issues affecting society. Rather than being driven by the need to maximise profits for shareholders and owners, their primary objective is to maximise impact on their chosen issue and surplus profits are generated purely vested rally towards that purpose.

Examples of social enterprises:

At HireHand we reimagine work for the future by using an intelligent and fuss-free matching platform. We bring freedom and variety to workers, while providing continuity and reliability to businesses. Founded in 2015 the business primarily supports independent food businesses in London. Additionally, over 30% of the workers on the platform come from disadvantaged backgrounds with many referred from partner charities such as Jamies Fifteen, the Prince's Trust and Thames Reach. The founder, Scott Erwin, is a former manager at McKinsey who developed the concept as part of the London Office Challenge.

Teach First ~ Teach First was founded in 2002 by former McKinsey consultant Brett Wigdortz. Teach First is an education and social mobility charity who believe that every young person deserves a fair shot at their ambitions. Yet, in the UK, a poorer child's chances of future life success are lower than their wealthier peers, even when they get the same results. By finding and developing talented people to teach and lead in schools where the need is greatest, Teach First is determined to help every young person succeed at school and set them up for brighter futures. In partnership with nearly 1,000 schools, Teach First has placed more than 10,000 early years, primary and secondary teachers in the schools where they’re most needed, supporting more than one million young people.

On Purpose develops leaders for an economy that works for all. Founded by a former McKinsey & Company consultant, its Associate Programme has taken 300+ professionals through a year-long leadership programme. It combines Friday afternoon training sessions and 1:1 mentoring and coaching with work placements that combine commercial ways of working with tackling social/environmental problems. On Purpose’s income and the Associates’ salaries come from the work placements that are hosted by for-profits like Interface, social enterprises like Dot Dot Dot Property and charities like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – the organisations get to access bright and motivated talent at below-market rates. In 2017, On Purpose launched a second leadership programme for the CEOs of purpose-driven organisations.