What is social entrepreneurship?

There isn't one definition and different countries use different terms as some have a legal definition and some talk about it more as an approach. In Sweden it's often associated with 'work integrating social enterprises' that operate with a purpose of integrating people into society and working life, such as Basta offering rehabilitation and work experience to those with a background in drug and alcohol abuse.

At SE Forum, we talk about it as the way in which people use business methods to solve social or environmental issues in communities, countries, or the world. It's an approach where business is used to do good, whilst running financially sustainable business models that ensure long-term sustainability with financial and social value. Measuring social impact is an important aspect for social enterprises, to understad how to do good in the most efficient way, and to explain its true value to stakeholders.

Norrsken House

It's an approach that's sometimes in between the civil society and the world of business, and we're currently seeing a tremendous growth following the launch of UN's Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. The goals are a framework that has given organisations and companies guidance and tools to change the way they do business and how they engage with the issues that are facing our world.

Social entrepreneurship is growing and we're seeing a change from it being a niche carried out by a few to something that's becoming more mainstream as it's taken on by entrepreneurs across all industries and is gaining interest from all sectors. Impact investing is becoming more popular, universities are offering courses and programmes in social entrepreneurship, an increasing number of incubators and accelerators are popping up, and media is getting interested. As consumers and service users, we're also starting to demand and expect companies to take bigger social and environmental responsibility, leading to new social enterprises setting up as well as existing companies changing the way they do business.

Social entrepreneurship Nigeria

At SE Forum we're working towards a world where social entrepreneurship is a widely developed concept with a strong and supportive ecosystem behind it. Where business across the globe is used to create positive change, for people and the planet, and where 'good business' is the norm.

We've supported many social entrepreneurs and enterprises over the years and continue our work to empower the sector and share knowledge and inspiration. To keep up to date with our latest work and news from the world of social entrepreneurship, sign up to our monthly newsletter, and if you want to get in touch directly then please email us at info@se-forum.se