Understanding Social Enterprise

Social Enterprises in South Africa: Discovering a vibrant sector

Social Enterprises in South Africa: Discovering a vibrant sector

This research is the largest and most comprehensive study of social enterprises in the country to date. The result is a rich set of data that will be interesting and useful to many stakeholders, locally and globally. 

The Social Enterprise Continuum

Organisations exist on a continuum, ranging from grant-dependent traditional NPOs operating with the primary intention of social value creation, to traditional businesses generating income through trading activities and operating for the purpose of economic value creation. Towards the centre of the continuum are social enterprises. 

Key Characteristics of a Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise is often described as a ‘movement’ or a way of doing. Social Enterprises are characterised by the following:

  • They have a core social or environmental aim
  • They trade as a means to a social or enviromental end
  • The mainly reinvest their profits into their social or enviromental aim
  • Ethical values guide their activities
  • They can take a number of different legal forms.