Towards an understanding of long-term social enterprises

March 2, 2016

The aim of this paper is to discuss social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in the longer term.  There seems to be a policy and academic understanding of social enterprise in the short term but little understanding of the reality of operating, running and constantly refocusing social enterprises in the longer term.  To clarify, a social enterprise is an organisation, with formalised business model, corporate governance, management and staffing structures.  It also has key social and economic objectives; the key performance indicators set by the Board of Directors for the company to achieve on an ongoing basis.  The primary aim of a social enterprise is to achieve a core social mission but it needs to be understood that as circumstances and the social, economic, technological and political environment change, the social and economic objectives of the organisation will be refocused to ensure that the core social mission is still relevant and being met.  The economic objectives will similarly be revised and updated to ensure the business model is still relevant and being met.  The paper goes on to publish a survey of 102 existing social enterprises in Ireland conducted as part of my PhD thesis.  This is one of the broadest in-depth surveys of long-term social enterprises conducted and gives detailed insight into these organisations.

To download and read the full paper please click here

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