The Future of Social Enterprise: Challenges and Opportunities for the Industry

Social Enterprise as a business model combines the social mission of a non-profit or government program with the market-driven approach of a for-profit business. Social entrepreneurs embrace the purpose and promise “to create a world where everyone has access to basic needs and opportunity”, explains Amy Ann Cadwell, cofounder of the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA).


Improved ROI, increased revenue, reduced cost of capital and high customer satisfaction and loyalty are a few of the reasons Social Enterprise consistently out-performs non-purpose-driven companies, and is an excellent choice for investors and consumers looking to make a difference with their wallets. 

A meta-analysis of 200 studies concluded that 90% reported lower capital costs and 88% showed better operational performance when companies implement good environmental, social and governance practices.

Right now, Social Enterprise as a business model is in an exciting phase of innovation and growth and thus is in new territory, facing unique issues and challenges.

A successful social enterprise is one that balances the tension between upholding the social mission of the company  and maximizing the productivity of their business venture to ensure sustainability.

Unlike small businesses and not-for-profit businesses, Social Entrepreneurs strive to maintain balance between profit and purpose. Social Enterprise looks at a complicated “triple bottom line”, as the model is  not entirely non-profit, nor strictly for-profit, and also has a broader purpose, to create impact.


Social Enterprise is still a developing industry, despite its being a well known business model rapidly gaining popularity.  As such, Social Enterprise faces crucial challenges:

An infrastructure has to be created for Social Enterprise, tailored to the “for profit” but “not strictly for profit” model, with focus on the broader goal  of social, environmental and economic impact.

A strong infrastructure enables social entrepreneurs to connect on a peer to peer level to solve challenges. UpEffect is working to provide this in the UK and worldwide, as well as the Social Enterprise Alliance in the US.  SEA is a leading network empowering Social Entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they require to succeed, and fosters a “social enterprise ecosystem” through networking and idea which they can thrive.

Also, social entrepreneurs need to find ways to access the resources they need.  Outreach to academic institutions and government services such as seeking grants, or developing academic curriculums in Social Enterprise, as well as creating official channels through which the particular needs and goals of Social Enterprise are aired and addressed.

At UpEffect, we are committed to creating a space for social entrepreneurs to receive the support they need to achieve significant impact. This is why our community of backers continues to support UpEffect campaigns – unlike other platforms, UpEffect ventures have a 100% funding success rate as well as higher rates of longevity and global impact.

Interested in learning more about UpEffect and becoming part of our community of backers and supporters? Click here to learn more. 



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