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Issue in Focus: Social Enterprise

Carl FrankelTamara Giltsoff

A new model for doing business—and doing good—is making its mark in the business and non-profit worlds. It’s called social enterprise, and it uses earned-income strategies—good ol’ capitalist methods, in other words—to fulfill a social mission.

Most social entrepreneurs have their own company, along with big dreams. Sometimes, though, their work unfolds inside big corporations that have blessed their non-traditional efforts, in which case their challenges are somewhat different, along with their designation—they’re called social intrapreneurs. Either way, achieving parity between the social and financial mission is a new game with new rules.

Throughout this month, we’ll be looking at what it takes to excel at this emerging art form. How does the decision process for a social entrepreneur differ from that of a “regular” business person or non-profit executive? What are the options in terms of organizational form and how does one choose among them? What special challenges and opportunities are there vis-à-vis fundraising? What does it actually mean to be a social entrepreneur? Many people hope social enterprise will be the next face of capitalism as we shift course toward sustainability. How plausible is this? Hopefully you’ll have a more clear sense of the odds after you’ve read the articles on these pages.

This month's guest editors: Carl Frankel and Tamara Giltsoff

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