As you know, what social enterprise is and isn’t is something I conjure with daily. I’ve been asked about three times in the last week.
One of the skills I most admire is being succinct. So I was wondering how to explain what a social enterprise is in a way that is a bit simpler.
Sometimes giving an example is best. It then struck me that the approaches the voluntary/third sector take in communication with a range of partners might be one of the things that distinguishes social enterprise from others in the voluntary sector.
There are lots of posts from charities asking for free help, services and expertise. As a social enterprise, my thoughts turn to how we can help you.
If we’re to generate sustainable and (not for private) profit and income, we need to provide goods or services that people don’t just want to buy, but that compete with the best in the private/commercial sector.
I don’t want to buy second-rate cake from a cafe that is a social enterprise, just because they have a social mission. I want to buy that cake because it’s the best cake on the market. I don’t buy the Big Issue because homeless people sell it – I buy it because it’s a darn good read. The fact that the money goes to the homeless is a bonus.
So this is the case with our mentoring training and my thinking. We’re not asking people to do us a favour. We’re selling mentoring training because we’re darn good at training mentors!