Wurld Water PosterA Social Enterprise is a business that makes profit to effect social change by giving its profits to a charity or cause. It has been touted as the way increase funding for charities beyond donors.
At first glance it seems easy. Set-up a business, make money, give the profits away.
The reality is a lot harder. As a business you still need capital, profit and cash. Did I mention cash!
Added to that is the complexity of trying to tell an honest story about what you do (do, as in actually do, not plan to do). There is also inherent social and brand responsibilities to actually deliver profit to the cause, as many of your customers purchase from you because of your story. Finally social enterprise is generally driven by the conviction of founder, which makes failure so much hard.
For the record I consider myself a social entrepreneur. I love business and long to make social change through it. Social enterprises are not impossible, just significantly harder.
A couple of cool social enterprises are Café Agora (www.agora.net.nz, where this picture was taken) who sell Wurld Water (www.wurld.org.nz) check them out.