Social enterprises are values-based businesses that generate networks of positive relationships while delivering sustainable economic development. They have three fundamental characteristics:
- trade either goods or services as much as possible to generate income, contain asset lock (all surpluses are reinvested) and
- operate to achieve social and/or environmental objectives
- they aspire to be self-sustaining and create employment opportunities through income generation.
(This definition comes from the Assist Social Capital website).
Scotland has a thriving social enterprise community with 5,600 businesses providing 81,000 full time equivalent jobs and 3.8bn in combined traded income. For further information go to the Social Enterprise Scotland website.