Social enterprise is the use of business to solve social problems.
The companies in my impact portfolio provide some clear examples:
- Solaris Offgrid is in the business of selling solar home systems in Tanzania to provide access to energy to isolated villages and also supplies the software enabling kitchen stoves to become Pay as you Go (PAYG) systems, replacing polluting and more expensive fuel alternatives.
- Tracegrow recycles on an industrial-scale, used batteries into fertilizers.
- Agripolis is building the world’s largest urban farm, reducing the time product travels to the time it takes it to collect it from the rooftop.
In sum, social enterprise takes a broken ecosystem, often where money is already inefficiently exchanging hands, and tries to make it better—with the ultimate goal of improving the life of the target population in a financially sustainable way.
Reversing the approach to the definition given above, you get “conscious capitalism“. Conscious capitalism is a way of thinking about capitalism and business that better reflects where we are in the human journey, the state of our world today, and the innate potential of business to make a positive impact on the world. The two key factors are purpose, and stakeholder orientation. The interaction between these factors results in conscious leadership and a conscious culture.
I wonder if we may soon see any social enterprise IPO?.
Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits, but the animating force for achieving themLarry Fink,CEO of BlackRock