Social enterprise can be challenging to define, in large part because the concept has been evolving rapidly in recent years and increasingly blurs the lines of the traditional business, government and non-profit sectors. Social Enterprise Alliance suggests the following basic working definition for social enterprise: "organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social or environmental problem through a market-driven approach." Models include:
- Opportunity Employment: organizations that employ people who have significant barriers to mainstream employment.
- Transformative Products or Services: organizations that create social or environmental impact through innovative products and services.
- Donate Back: organizations that contribute a portion of their profits to nonprofits that address basic unmet needs.
This page from Social Enterprise Alliance explains what social enterprise is and how it can be used to further a mission.