What is social enterprise?

Social enterprise provides a means to improve social wellbeing, environmental sustainability, and economic performance in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Social enterprises are purpose-driven organisations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact.

Enterprise with purpose

With social enterprise, it is less about the “who” and more about the “what”. A wide range of organisations can and do deliver social enterprise.

In the absence of a formal legal definition, Ākina uses the following three key areas to define what is a social enterprise:

  • That the social, cultural and/or environmental mission provides a public or community benefit and that is the primary purpose of organisation;
  • That the majority of income is from trading a good or a service;
  • That the majority of either expenditure or profit is spent in the fulfilment of the purpose of the organisation.
Doing it differently

Globally, social enterprise and impact investment are creating hybrid markets and new forms of entrepreneurship, innovation, and capital. We believe supporting this emerging sector will deliver:

  • Improved social, environmental and economic outcomes
  • Increased innovation in community and public service provision
  • Creation of jobs and training opportunities, especially for young people
  • Communities developing their own solutions, leading to resilient local economies
  • Greater engagement between the business and community sectors
  • Government and philanthropic bodies having greater flexibility to target spending and encourage more private capital into areas where there is a need for new solutions.

Find out more about social enterprise here.