We'll hit the road this morning and make tracks for 20 days of adventure. Shortly before we find our ferry for France, we'll be taking in the English coastline beauty of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Generally defined as any market-based activity to address a social issue, social enterprise has by some accounts become a global movement to sustain socially beneficial activities largely by means other than traditional government and philanthropic resources.
Looking globally, the social enterprise movement of the last three decades has been spurred on by the need for resources or programming or both to fill gaps in systems attempting to serve the disadvantaged.
Thus, typical examples include organizations that provide work for the hard to employ, thrift stores that sell secondhand goods to support a social purpose, scouts that sell cookies or other items to fund their youth programming, microfinance organizations that lend money to the poor for their small business startups, and museum stores, among many others.
The exact definition of social enterprise is often contested along its commercial and social boundaries. Social enterprise is increasingly defined as distinct from corporate social responsibility CSRwhere profit-driven businesses donate only a fraction of their funds or employee time to social projects.
Corporate philanthropy is also often seen as separate from social enterprise, due to the primacy of the profit motive in the corporate generation of revenue relative to the comparably small social cause work of the organization. Thus, while the broadest definitions may include all of these forms of commercially backed social efforts, definitions of social enterprise—either inherently or explicitly—often exclude undertakings that are relatively lacking in either the social or commercial aspect.
InItaly was the first to adopt the social cooperative legal European experience, with a number of other countries later following suit9—including France, Greece, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.
Alternatively, inthe United Kingdom passed a modified for-profit legal form, the Community Interest Company CICto address the call to elevate social mission in a for-profit setting. Here, a national-level legal form has not been created for social enterprise, though there is significant state-level tinkering with adaptations of for-profit legal forms that legally allow social and profit goals to coexist, such as the low-profit limited liability corporation L3Cthe benefit corporation, and the social purpose corporation.
The cooperative form has historically not been associated with the term social enterprise in the United States; however, this is changing with the emergence of such entities as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Ohio and the Cooperative Home Care Associates in New York.
Historically, the development of social enterprise has involved more foundation than government support. The sale of products or services can also be arranged through a nonprofit or for-profit subsidiary.
The creation of subsidiaries allows a nonprofit to engage in activities that may only be peripherally related to its mission or to reduce its risk as it experiments with a new program or business ideas.
Such subsidiaries are considered social enterprises when they include an earned-income component. For example, a comprehensive social service provider might establish an employment agency for hard-to-place inner-city residents as a separate nonprofit subsidiary.
While the parent organization may provide start-up funding and administrative services, the subsidiary is able to adopt its own structure and create a business-like culture.
Profits from the for-profit subsidiary are taxed at normal corporate income tax rates, even though they support the charitable activities of the nonprofit.
Dual-purpose businesses hybrids mediate profit goals with internally realized social objectives to achieve either a double bottom line financial and social returns or triple bottom line financial, social, and environmental returns. However, the use of a single organization appears to predominate over a conglomerate, with this typically being the cooperative or social cooperative legal form when such legislation is present.
Associations may also house a revenue-generating component; however, this is only where laws allow business activity within the association legal form. Another point of differentiation between Europe and the United States is the internal governance of the social enterprise.
In the European context, the governance of the organization carries greater importance due to its expected role in the democratic advancement of the economy.
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In terms of autonomy, a hallmark of European social enterprises is that they are established and managed by citizen groups rather than public or private entities, though they can receive significant funding from these sources.
As such, public—private partnerships are not included in their conceptualization of social enterprise, though they can be at times in the U. The involvement of multiple stakeholders—including employees, beneficiaries, volunteers, sponsors, and government and business actors from the local community, either on the board or as members—creates a situation of multistakeholder ownership and governance of the social enterprise.
These last two characteristics are captured as requirements in the legislation for social enterprise legal forms in some European countries. A Toolkit for Social Entrepreneurs by Greg Dees, Jed Emerson, and Peter Economy discusses many alternative means to structure social enterprise in relation to the nonprofit that has given the enterprise birth.
If the enterprise is located inside the nonprofit, an advisory board can be established to specifically provide support and counsel on the enterprise side. Such advisory boards typically have more representation from clients and the community, and can be formal or informal.
When the social enterprise is housed in a legally separate for-profit subsidiary, a business enterprise board can be established at its head with a focus on profit making.
Given the above, it is not surprising that Europeans and Americans often define social enterprise differently. In the United States, there are, broadly speaking, two principal schools of thought: The earned-income school focuses on social enterprise organizations and activities that generate commercial revenue in support of social goals.
Gregory Dees, Light argues that on an academic level there is increasing agreement that social enterprise is distinct from the foundation definition of social entrepreneurship due to its connection with revenue generation.Ice Sculpturings shows off some of the work we have done in the past, creating custom ice sculptures, ice luges, ice fountains, wedding ice sculptures, ice bars, ice logos, and many more to give you an idea what custome ice creation we can make for you.
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