Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The social enterprises in the global trends

Even though the emergence of the social enterprises itself has been regarded as one product of the global trends, the social enterprises are still corporates. From this perspective, how should they do in response to the global trends?

What are the social enterprises’ features?
· Clear stated social objectives that benefit the community
· Develop creative ways to work together, usually on a shoe string often with a strong volunteer base
· Trading activities to achieve goals and financial self-sufficiency
· Use entrepreneurial skills of the private sector to fulfill a strong social mission
· A combination of funding to operate
· Accountancy is transparent
· Income matches expenditure as any surplus or profit made is re-invested into the company
· High standards of integrity and professionalism

How can the features help them when they respond the global trends? Social enterprises feature their clear stated social objectives that benefit the community, which would give the customers an incentive to purchase other than meeting the needs. This incentive could serve as a buffer when the whole industry is affected by any global trend.
Also, social enterprises have developed creative ways to work together, usually on a “shoe string” with a strong volunteer base, which is a good support. So it is not difficult to define that a social enterprise is an entity that combines both for-profit and non-profit. Additionally, the diversity of funding to operate from grants to sponsorship and free trading should be helpful for the social enterprises to better relieve the impact than the companies which depend primarily on its operation.

However, when the social enterprises enjoy the particular benefits from which the ordinary companies are excluded, they also face the “particular risks” so that they have to pay double attention when the global trends emerge. Compared with the normal competitors in their industries, they have to focus on the implications of the whole industry and the “social enterprise” industry brought by the global trends. For instance, for all the for-profit companies, the incentives for the customers to purchase their goods include meeting the customers’ certain needs or interests. So the profit-oriented goal is usually acceptable for the public. But it is not the case with the social enterprises. When the global trends of credit defaults happen, the social enterprises will be
affected more.

So for the social enterprises, it is very important to watch the global trends, analyze the trends and respond properly. How they take advantages of their benefits and avoid the potential risks remains a big problem.


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