Social Enterprise: The Final Frontier

Social enterprise is not for the faint of heart.  It’s hard enough to make a difference in the world, or to succeed at running a business, but do both at the same time?  Yikes, beam me up, Scotty.  This is not easy to do, and many organizations have failed at it.  But the good news is that there are tens of thousands of organizations who have succeeded at pursuing their social mission supported, in part or in whole, by selling goods and services.   And, in most cases, they’re willing to share what they’ve learned.

Welcome to the first edition of the Social Enterprise Blog of the Free Management Library.   I’m Rolfe Larson, your guide in this quadrant of the blogosphere.   Our goal is to help you succeed at starting, expanding, or just surviving your social enterprise.

What is a social enterprise?  There are many definitions, so here’s one to get things started.  The Social Enterprise Alliance defines it as any organization that “harnesses the power of the marketplace to solve critical social or environmental problems.”

Here are some of the topics we’ll be discussing here:

  • What organizational form makes best sense for your group?
  • Are you ready to do social enterprise?  Is it right for you?
  • What are the risks and limitations?   Other options?
  • How do you find good opportunities to start or grow our ventures?
  • Where do you find the resources to get it started?
  • When does it make sense to hire someone to help you with this?

So I hope you will, well, boldly join us for this voyage. Or at least drop in from cyberspace now and again to “make it so.”  I guarantee it: we’ll keep this useful and interesting.  Engage!