Social enterprises are enterprises that ‘trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.’ (Social Traders).
Injections of philanthropic funding at strategic points along their enterprise journey can help social enterprise start-up, innovate and grow. Social enterprises bring business skills alongside social and environmental challenges and thoughtfully and intentionally make an impact.
The Summer edition of Connect highlights the important and innovative role being played by social enterprises across Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation’s Impact Areas.
Philanthropy plays a very important part in the journey of a social enterprise. Philanthropic support can enable a great idea to be fine-tuned, tested and developed into an initial business plan. It can:
- allow piloting of the new social enterprise model to see if it is viable;
- help build capability through supporting leadership, governance, marketing or network development;
- fund the development or purchase of up-to-date technology platforms;
- support an enterprise to be ready to pursue social procurement opportunities (e.g. government contracts) or commercial investment; and
- can support the scaling-up of a social enterprise that has demonstrated positive impact.
The diverse social enterprises featured in this newsletter have received support from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
Many are employing people who may not otherwise have a job (Free to Feed and Ability Works), or developing new employment opportunities (Lively).
They are supporting people in a time of crisis (Gather My Crew and Justice Connect Not-for-Profit Law Training), they are addressing environmental issues like waste (Green Collect and Zero Carbon Factory), and they are earning revenue as real estate agencies to help fund homeless services (HomeGround Real Estate and Property Initiatives Real Estate).
The social enterprise can be not-for-profit or for-profit. As a foundation, we make grants to social enterprises that are charities.
We have also made two impact investments in social enterprises that have been established as businesses for a social purpose. Most of the stories in featured in Connect are about social enterprises that are charities.
I have been a long-time supporter of social enterprises throughout my career and am excited by the important role that philanthropy can play in growing strong and impactful enterprises.
Dr Catherine Brown
Chief Executive Officer
Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation supports social enterprises providing education, training and employment opportunities, including: