What are Social Enterprises and How they Benefit Students


A Social Enterprise is a business with an orientation towards Social Benefits. This type of business is formed with both the goals of making profits and funding other non-profit organizations, helping a community, or facilitating a particular group of people in a beneficial manner. No particular legal structure is required to establish Social Enterprises.
A CIC or Community Interest Company is a company formed strictly following a definite legal Structure only to aid different social causes or serve social purposes. A CIC can be termed as a type of Social Enterprise.

In short, Social Enterprises and Community Interest Companies work for causes greater than earning profit keeping a business point of view with a flexible work environment.

Origin of Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises

According to many renowned authors and entrepreneurs, the concept of Social Entrepreneurship and the formation of Social Enterprises was latently associated with “Cooperative Associations of Mutual Assistance” – the French economic notion that rose during 1970. Others say Social Entrepreneurship came out in reality beyond conceptualization with the foundation of charitable concern “Ashoka” by Bill Drayton during 1980. However, the mention of Social Entrepreneurship in printed media first occurred in “The Sociology of Social Movement” – a literary work done by Joseph Banks. Social Entrepreneurship was first academically recognized with the Concept of Social Innovation by Peter Drucker during the 1990s.
In the UK the concept and execution of forming Social Enterprises took place during the late 1990s. CIC companies were founded for the first time in 2005 in the UK.

How Social Enterprises Work

Social Enterprises earn their revenue by trading goods and services. Sells of these businesses are purpose-oriented and the buyer is benefitted in some way or the other by purchasing their product while facilitating funding for a social cause. The profits made by a Social Enterprise are used for the payments of the business employees and funding the objective it is working for. Earning revenue for such organizations depends on the format they choose to work under and the ultimate purpose.
Social Enterprises work simultaneously on Social and Business objectives with a stable financial background. Social Enterprises can be founded in any form such as a charitable organization, an NGO, a Limited Share Compan,y and many others.

How CIC Companies Work

CIC companies make their assets from donations, grants, and businesses. These are limited companies with limited liability ensuring financial protection for the owners. The operations of CIC are simpler than other charitable concerns. The assets of such companies are locked and the amount of profit to be used for the cause is definite. Formation set up and operations of a CIC is authorized and regulated by Community Interest Regulator.

How Social Enterprises benefit Society and different communities

Social Enterprises can benefit any particular community by direct funding or funding through other organizations. Also, they can create non-profit or low-profit platforms where ranges of services are offered to specific groups (Such as Students, Women, School-going children, etc.) at a minimal cost. Services that a social enterprise offers to society are designed according to the urgency and requirement of a particular region or community making the services reasonable for the mass.

How Social Enterprises benefit Higher Education Students in the UK

Major Higher Education Institutions in the UK are creating associations with Social Enterprises to provide the students with the support of different services, increasing the placement opportunities for the students in such businesses, Internship Opportunities in the UK, and different specialized courses related to different streams of study. Another purpose for such collaboration is to encourage the students and the members of the institutions to engage themselves with social works and social entrepreneurship. Students of institutions collaborated with a good social enterprise get the opportunity to meet and learn from established social entrepreneurs. Social Enterprises increase the employability of students by offering them experimental learning and practical training.

Opportunities for Students Working with Social Enterprises

Students working with Social Enterprises get to work for the social cause they want to stand for directly and indirectly. This creates a sense of responsibility in them and a willingness to do something purposeful that is beneficial not only for them but for the society they live in. This experience builds hard and soft skills, entrepreneurial skills, and a noble mindset in the students that develop them as better employees and human beings. Working with Social Enterprises help the students build a stronger and wider network which opens comparatively more opportunities for them. This way Social Enterprises can impact society in such a positive manner where higher education students are not only holding their degrees but also are well-equipped with a set of interpersonal and professional skills and a positive approach towards the betterment of society.

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