The Role Of Social Enterprises In Community Development

What is a Social Enterprise?

Social enterprises are in essence, businesses that have primarily social or environmental objectives, goals and purposes. As argued by Clarke (2018), a social enterprise is capable of performing many different functions for the benefit of a community. In the view of Dees (2017), the manner in which a social enterprise differs from that of a conventional business is something that proves to be hugely beneficial for a community in various ways. This essay argues that social enterprises have a vital role to play in community development. To do so, this essay analyzes the specific ways in which social enterprise can play a role in community development. The essay concludes that social enterprise is absolutely vital for developing communities and their initiatives in this domain must at all times, be encouraged.

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According to Doherty et al. (2014), social enterprise is more than likely to experiment and to innovate. It is designed typically to fill all the gaps in existing services, something that cannot be fulfilled by either the public or the private sector. A social enterprise is also capable of reaching out to people who are excluded socially, through voluntary services, and through employment and training opportunities. For Gibson-Graham and Roelvnik (2016), all socially run business enterprises in any neighborhood can end up contributing to a notion of local identity by assisting local people like villagers in building their own sense of self-identity. Local people in rural areas and districts can boost their self-confidence by a great extent with help from social enterprises. Social enterprises are also established more often than not for retaining as well as re-investing profits in a local economy.

In the opinion of Hawkins and Wise (2017), it is in the provinces of any country that social enterprises have a particularly important role to play. It is here that social enterprises can actually deploy conventional business like tactics for the purpose of rendering essential services for all the communities residing in the province. Examples of some of the services that a social enterprise can provide for communities living in a province include assisting in the educational development of public schools, advertising and carrying out promotional activities for all types of business enterprises and funding local business initiatives. Popular examples of social enterprises include non profit organizations, community projects, fund raising campaigns and international development organizations like the UN. The social enterprise greenhouse is one that has a very crucial role to play in developing business in a province. According to Heald (2018), the purpose of this social enterprise greenhouse is to generate positive economic and social impacts as widely as possible. This is done by supporting social enterprises and social entrepreneurs with all the networks and the tools that they need to make this happen. The organization is nothing but a large network of community leaders and business leaders who contribute expertise, money as well as time in order to create very positive social change via social enterprise. This is something that is achieved through the serving of social enterprises and also by providing entrepreneurs as well as entrepreneurial ventures with all the services and other requirements that are necessary in order to transition from ideas to the implementation of ideas. Examples of such services include the acceleration of later stage strategies, incubation, financial services and loan funding at rates of interest that are far below the ongoing market rate.

The Benefits of Social Enterprises in Community Development

In the view of Larner (2014), all the different services that a social enterprise greenhouse is known to make available to social entrepreneurs are all regarded as highly important when it comes to bringing about the financial acceleration of any province. When entrepreneurs have the services and the knowledge that they require at hand, to become as successful as possible, then it is only natural that they will do everything in their capacity to make their enterprise grow and prosper in leaps and bounds. NGO’s for instance can educate social entrepreneurs about the skills and expertise that local people in underdeveloped regions can offer. Social entrepreneurs can use such skills to further their business in these areas, earning profit and giving to the community while they do so. This in turn will gradually improve business in provincial locations and the local economies in these areas will end up receiving a considerable boost. Gradually as these areas receive more and more revenue owing to the initiatives that are undertaken over here by the social enterprise greenhouse, the localities will gather the funds that are necessary to at least provide the youth over here with education at a young age.

As argued by Laville et al (2015), the contributions that are made by a social enterprise greenhouse to a province are more than apparent. A social enterprise greenhouse is able to generate educational opportunities and employment opportunities in under developed areas. Laville et al (2015), state that gradually the areas that were not as well developed before will gain the financial resources needed to grow and expand and will thus provide residents with the income and other necessities that they must have in order to lead a comfortable and fulfilling life over the long term. Clarke (2018), goes onto state that what a social enterprise greenhouse helps in doing is to make an underdeveloped locality transform into one that is fully developed and self-sufficient. It makes an underdeveloped area, an area where the local people can take up jobs and services to sustain themselves instead of having to rely on external assistance to survive, and where basic social services and requirements are duly looked into.

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For Macaulay et al (2018), there are a number of different ways by which, social enterprises carry out their functions, in order to play a crucial role in the development of a community. First and foremost of these is entrepreneurial support. Such support is usually provided when any company sells some or all of its services to targeted beneficiaries. For instance, when an advertising agency decides to offer its public relations services to a non-profit organization, or when a marketing firm decides to offer its promotional facilities and services to a grass roots organization that is struggling to make its voice heard. As argued by Moulaert (2016), when the beneficiary group is targeted, in this instance, the grass roots organization or the non-profit organization, then a social enterprise division is created within the company that is offering these services in the first place. Entrepreneurial support is always welcome as it helps a community to grow and develop in better ways than the usual. The funding and the services that are made available by a socially conscious entrepreneur are those that are targeted at the poorest of the poor.  According to Munro et al (2016), he marginalized people in a community really get the opportunity to grow and to thrive due to the efforts that are undertaken for their social uplifting by entrepreneurs. The financial and other services provided by entrepreneurs often have a vital role to play in certain communities for a locality or an area in surviving and doing well for themselves over the long term.

The Role of Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Developing Communities

For Peredo and Chrisman (2017), another way in which social enterprises are known to boost community development is through the services provided by market intermediaries. The market intermediaries render services to all types of clients and help them to gain access to markets rather easily. A well-known example of a market intermediary is that of a fair trade organization. In the view of Pestoff and Hulgard (2016)  the fair trade organization is an organization that ends up buying goods from local artisans and art manufacturers and then sells such items to a wider audience. In doing so, what the market intermediaries end up doing for the local art manufacturers and artisans is to make them self sufficient. When their goods and services are made available by the market intermediaries in a large scale market set up then they are able to earn a considerable amount of revenue from the process. They do not have to take recourse to approaching charity based organizations or funding organizations to acquire the financial assistance that they need to eke out a dignified living any longer.

According to Vitiello and Wolf-Powers (2014), the employment social enterprise model is not something that can be ignored when it comes to understanding the vital role that social enterprise has to play in boosting the development of a community. Employment social enterprise occurs when companies offer job training and employment opportunities to clients, and then goes ahead and sells such products and such services in an open market. For instance, such an employment could hire youths who are ridden with disabilities and who would not have been recruited for a job elsewhere. By training such youth with disabilities and then helping to sell their services in an open market, the company helps the youth in becoming self-sufficient. Such youth do not have to wait around for the charity of others and will be able to survive entirely on their own. An amazing benefit of the employment social enterprise model is the fact that it helps young people from taking recourse to drugs and other types of addictive substances in order to feel good about themselves. Unemployed youth do not have to lounge around dosing on terrible drugs and taking part in risky sexual activities in order to validate their existence. They can instead be gainfully employed because of the efforts that are undertaken by the employment social enterprise model to do just that. The employment social enterprise model helps the youth of a marginalized community to take up jobs and to survive instead of relying on external assistance like substance abuse to get through life.

Different Ways Social Enterprises Boost Community Development

In the view of Clarke (2018), yet another well-known way by which social enterprises are known to boost community development is through the services that are offered by a fee for services model. The fee for services model is one where social services are sold to any third party payer or third party client. Clinics, museums and membership organizations are for instance known to employ the fee for a service. It is a way by which these organizations are institutions are able to sustain themselves in the community without requiring any well-known investor to take full charge of their funding needs and requirements. Heald (2018) says that when a museum charges a small fee in order to open its exhibits for public viewing, it makes the people who visit such a museum more culturally rich than they were before and also earns some revenue in the process. It does not have to depend on any charitable organization or entrepreneur to come and rescue it from funding distress. The fee for a service model has not only helped museums and clinics to survive but has helped churches and old historic buildings to survive as well. There are some churches that contain beautiful images and artifacts that are no different from those that are housed within a museum. By charging the church visitors a specific fee for visiting the church to view such artifacts for a limited number of hours in a day, with the help of social enterprises of course, a church is capable of earning considerable revenue and financing its religious and social activities very well.

Using the low-income client model is a renowned way by which social enterprises are known to influence community development by quite a considerable extent. The low-income client model is one that is put in place when social services are sold off to clients who are otherwise not in a position to actually afford such services in the first place. Utility assistance programs, prescription drug programs and various other ancillary medical services tend to be made available to members of communities under such a model. The communities who are at the receiving end of such medical assistance and services are usually those who belong to low income groups and who would not have been in a position to avail such services in the first place. Thus the low income client model does a great benefit to the community as it provides the community with essential medical services that could otherwise have been very expensive for the community members to afford. Many members of developing communities are actually able to survive because of such services and may have otherwise died or been terminally ill for the long term with no medical treatment being made available to them. Accessing medical services is something that is of vital necessity for members of any odd community. Medical costs are terribly high in today’s day and age and getting admitted in a hospital can actually amount to a considerable sum of money. By offering medical assistance and medical services at subsidized prices, a social enterprise can actually help people who belong to low income groups to survive and live well rather than die out on the roads or on the pavements with no one to care for them.

Entrepreneurial Support

Finally, as argued by Pinch and Sunley (2015), social enterprises play a role in boosting community developed through cooperatives. The cooperatives are those that provide their members with a number of benefits via collective purchasing structures. Food cooperatives and credit unions as well as companies that specialize in activities like bulk purchasing are those that employ such social enterprises in their various practices. For Roy et al (2015), the presence of cooperative societies in a developing community is highly beneficial as it enables members of the community to go ahead and buy various products that they need for the household at rates that are far lower than the market price of such items.

According to Phillips and Pittman (2014), social enterprises are known to differ from conventional businesses in a number of different ways by virtue of the various beneficial services that they make available to a community. For instance social enterprises tend to experiment and innovate a lot more than traditional businesses are known to do. As argued by Simpson (2014), the social enterprises are willing to try out new schemes and fund raising techniques that help them in providing social services and doing good business at the same time. They do not have to necessarily lose out on making a profit just because they perform socially conscious roles. In the view of Renz (2016), the main reason why social enterprises are seen to experiment far more than traditional businesses are known to do is the fact that these enterprises aim at filling all the gaps in society through offering services that cannot be provided by either the private sector or the public sector. For Tracey and Phillips (2016), the social enterprises are those that are capable of reaching out to people who are social excluded and marginalized and who do not have any voice or representation in the society in which they live. The social enterprises are seen to reach out to marginalized people through the provision of job opportunities as well as through on job training services and voluntary services, all of which are aimed at helping the weaker sections of the society to stand on their own feet, become self sufficient and one day take themselves to a position where they no longer have to depend on the charity or the good will of others. Self-confidence, and a sense of local identity are those that are largely developed due to the efforts that are undertaken by social enterprises for community development. No conventional business house can take credit for improving the self-esteem and self-confidence of members of a developing community as their prime goal is to earn as much profit as possible in a limited period of time. Traditional business houses are known to chase after money and profit at all times and will not make the effort that is needed to make marginalized people in a locality do everything possible to improve their sense of self worth. The activities of a social enterprise are those that are motivated by a high degree of social consciousness. According to Ridley-Duff and Bull (2015), social enterprises are dedicated to performing socially fulfilling roles while doing business at the same given time, something that traditional businesses are never known to do.

Market Intermediaries

Thus, the valuable role that is played by social enterprises in boosting community development is something that definitely cannot be denied. The social enterprises are business enterprises that have social goals and commitments. Their activities are defined as much by their need to make profit as much as by their desire to do social good. It is because of the crucial role played by social enterprises that many communities in developing countries of the world are able to survive and to thrive in the current day and age. Without the assistance made available by social enterprises, it would have been difficult for such communities to gain the financial resources and other resources that are needed in order to be self-sufficient and survive on their own without having to rely on the generosity and the pity of charity organizations to keep their heads above the water.  according to Teasdale et al (2018), a wonderful feature of the services that are offered by social enterprises is the fact that such enterprises really help poor people to become self-sufficient. People who are vulnerable and deprived lose their vulnerability and weak status quite easily when they are allowed to take up jobs or be gainfully occupied in a way that it gives them some income. Social enterprises definitely have profit on their minds but they earn their profit in a way that they are able to give back to the society and to the community at the same given time. Through their noble initiatives and measures to uplift the poor in society, social enterprises also end up playing a very vital role in boosting the local economy. Social enterprises enable the marginalized sections of society to take up jobs and earn revenue which in turn is great for the economy of the city or town in which these poor people reside. The local governments in the cities and towns where social enterprises carry out their various roles are able to earn a sufficient amount of money through such initiatives and are thus able to do much more for their residents than they were able to earlier. More often than not, rural areas are known to become developed and advanced and acquire the stature of towns even due to the many benefits that are associated with the different initiatives that are undertaken by social enterprises in such areas. Rural areas no longer remain rural and instead become semi-urban in character.

Employment Social Enterprise Model

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